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Language…Say What?

Overcoming Language Barriers: Basic Communication Skills for Travelers

  • Rule #1 for Overcoming Language Barriers: The International Language is the “The Smile” regardless of your predicament with language barriers always give a smile, it will keep both parties from getting frustrated.
  • Ask if the person speaks English before you start stumbling in the local language.
  • Remember You are a guest in another’s CountryIf you are a long term traveler consider taking language lessons at a local school. Typically, these schools are very good and inexpensive this will give you a boost of confidence when you are trying to communicate with locals. If you are traveling in Nicaragua this is the school we recommend: Click here for the link     Nica Spanish School
  • Carry a phrase book. We recommend one through Lonely Planet. Have the bare minimum down for greetings in the language of the country you are visiting: Hello, Good Bye, Thank You, Please, Where is?, Water, Bathroom, Please Repeat
  • Carry a pen and paper, draw a picture of what you need.
  • Have a hand written address of where you are staying to show the taxi driver if the verbal language communication fails
  • Have a business card of the establishment where you are staying to reference or show to others.
  • language barriersTake pictures of hotel signs, maps, or restaurants to show the local where you want to go. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words
  • Take your time trying to speak to the person, concentrate on the language and focus on pronouncing the main words. The local will probably figure out the main idea of what you’re trying to say. Then just nod your head and smile as they respond back to you in their native language.
  • Smile in a friendly manner & point or use pantomime to help get your idea across.
  • Try to speak the words even if you think you sound a little stupid, most people will appreciate your attempts at the language, no matter how small.
  • Don’t Forget the Duolingo app you can download to your phone It’s a great way to pick up some verbs

Enjoy The Journey!

language barriers
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language barriers
Take Pictures of Maps. Use for a reference for yourself and to show others.
language barriers
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language barriers
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