British schools perform notoriously bad when it comes to learning a foreign language. A study conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute reported that only 32% of young Britons can read and write in a second language, compared to over 90% of their German peers.Of course, you may say, English is a lingua franca which is spoken and understood internationally. Brits don’t really need to learn a new one to get around outside the UK. If that’s the reason why you’re not learning Spanish, Chinese, or French, you’re missing out on a world of opportunities and the benefits of knowing more than one language.
There are plenty of reasons why foreign languages are useful in the workplace. However, people often underestimate the advantages of knowing the local lingo while on holiday. If you have taken a few Spanish classes, for example, you will be able to stop eating like a tourist and start enjoying the real flavours and culture of Spain. Regardless of where you decide to travel, knowing the local language as a tourist allows you to save money on organised tours, free events that only locals know about, and eating out.Being comfortable in a foreign language when on holiday also means fewer headaches exploring the country: have you ever tried to find your way around gorgeous Moscow metro? Famously, stations feature signs almost exclusively in Russian and most of the staff don’t speak English.
Here is a list of reasons why learning a new language as a tourist is a great idea:
Check out this gallery of opportunities that our Founder Drew wouldn’t have had access to during her latest trip to Tenerife without speaking Spanish:
This is a hard question to answer. Of course, much depends on your needs and taste. Are you a fan of cold temperatures and want to see the Northern Lights? Or are you more of a beachgoer?If you enjoy warm weathers and don’t have the time to learn multiple languages, for example, taking Spanish lessons will open you the doors of most Central and South American countries, and you may even decide to go and work remotely in the Canary Islands for a season or two.On the other hand, tourists who speak French will be in their element in several European and African countries as well as the Seychelles, Canada, and many Caribbean islands
The good news when learning Spanish for holidays is, you can ignore a huge number of grammar rules. Spanish speakers will appreciate you making an effort and often encourage you, it’s very unlikely that they’ll get offended by a few grammar faux pas.Focus on Spanish conversation classes instead. Your teacher or tutor is going to ask you about your language goals and timeline and will design a learning plan that priorities understanding and speaking beginners’ Spanish, tailored around your needs.Watch out: although writing is not essential for beginners in Spanish, you will need to learn how to write and read a different alphabet if you wish to understand languages like Arabic, Japanese, or Russian.Practice, practice, practice. Don’t be afraid to jump in and take advantage of all the learning opportunities you get, both inside and outside the classroom. If you don’t have time to spare, try apps and exercises you can do during your commute or at your hairdresser appointment.Immerse yourself in your target language. Your Spanish classes aren’t the only source of learning material. Try watching Netflix in Spanish with subtitles, listening to music with Spanish lyrics, and attending cultural events organized by the Spanish-speaking community in your area. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can improve if you follow these tricks!
Already on the plane? Practice these basic Spanish expressions to land on your feet:
Want to learn all the basics? With My Language Lab, you can take advantage of online Spanish classes ready for your next trip.