Five tips for travelling language learners
We’re on our #LingogoWorldTour - search our hashtag to see the pics! So far we’ve been spreading the Lingogo word and making industry connections in London, France, Portugal, Spain and Mexico. We’re about to launch into Central America. So, yep, it’s been epic.
Along the way we’ve picked up a few tips to make learning a language while you travel that much easier. Have a squiz:
( photos 1 & 3 courtesy of NicklePhotography )
1. Answers are important
In Hossegor, France I wanted to go for a run but needed to ask for directions. To prepare I nervously studied my phrase book until I was absolutely sure I knew my stuff. Then I asked the first runner I saw. And apparently I nailed it… because he assumed my French was much more advanced than it is and proceeded to tell me his favourite route in extreme detail. Hardly understanding a word I nodded every time he paused for breath ‘Oui, oui’ I said. When he finally finished I smiled and - because I didn’t even understand which direction to start in - pretended to tie my shoelace while he took off. When you’re learning questions, make sure you also learn the answers!
2. Make the most of eating out
After a long day in Mexico City, Cam and I were feeling particularly hungry and particularly incapable of making conversation. So, after ordering a huge amount of tacos, we decided on a way to pass the time and forget our rumbling stomachs. With the help of our SpanishDict app we used the menu like flashcards to quiz each other. By the time our meal turned up we were experts in Mexican food. I highly recommend this little mealtime vocab game (best enjoyed with an ice cold Corona in hand).
3. Stick to your guns
While planning our trip we imagined ourselves in plenty of romantic situations having long conversations in French or Spanish with locals. In reality, whether booking rooms, ordering ice creams or catching taxis we found that locals always answered us in English! Assuming our pronunciation must have been rubbish, we too reverted to English. That is until we decided to stick to our guns. When locals reply in English (or your native language), smile and reply again in your target language. In our experience, when they understand you really want to practise they’re happy to oblige. Apart from one very grumpy Madrid Metro Station attendant but hey - theres always one!
4. Go old school
Call me ‘Grandma’ but I highly recommend having a notebook and pen in your bag at all times for jotting down new vocab. No charging required! In Portugal while tramping to the beautiful ‘Green Lake’ our local friend João told me about the Portuguese word 'saudade'. It's hard to translate into English but kind of refers to a state of nostalgia or melancholy, usually longing for an absent loved one. The unique part though is that it's not really a negative feeling, it's appreciating the time you had. One for the notebook for sure!
5. Put downtime to use
Travel involves a lot of downtime. Airports, bus stops, siestas, those times when you’ve had enough of meeting ppl and just want to chill by yourself. We recommend making the most of these moments by using them to do some language practise. Trust us - fifteen minutes here and there can really add up! Just make sure you’re carrying your study material and have your Lingogo Stories downloaded so you’re not wifi dependent. Then, while your travel buddies are staring into the distance - get learning! We loved reviewing our Lingogo Stories in airports and on planes. Such an easy way to feel productive and like you’d earned that beer you’re sure to order after take off.
If you have any travel/language learning tips please let us know with a message in the comments. Our next stop is a Spanish school in Guatemala so we certainly need them!