As you may or may not know, I’m quite active over on my travel Instagram. I post daily, interact with a ton of awesome people, and expand on my wanderlust every time I scroll down my feed. Instagram is a great place to make new friends and learn about different places around the world!
One of my favourite travel Instagrammers is Sophie. Sophie’s feed is absolutely beautiful, filled with photos from her travels and daily life in England. She also has a blog, where she shares a good mix of travel guides, personal posts and reviews! I’m so glad I have had the chance to collaborate with Sophie. She has written a super helpful post for my blog, all about learning a language and how to adapt to using it! I’m sure there are lots of people out there who are interested in learning a new language, but find it intimidating and are unsure where to start. So hopefully Sophie can give you all some encouragement!
Getting Immersed in a Country Through Language: A Guest Post By Sophie
Hello, it’s such a pleasure to be writing on this blog today! I’m going to be talking about language learning and how it can really aid you when travelling and also give you a more immerse (and somewhat better) experience.
I am someone who always found languages extremely challenging, mainly because speaking in English is hard enough at times right! I did learn a language at school, Spanish, however lets just say I narrowly passed the subject and I cannot remember much. However now, as a result of falling in love with a certain country I really want to get a grasp of its language. That country is Japan, within the last two years I would have been four times by September, and next year I plan to be working there after I graduate, meaning if I just keep on going without attempting to learn Japanese, I would be a little bit of a fail…
So here is my guide to learning a language, adapting whilst abroad/attempting to use it, coupled with a couple of embarrassing stories where I just epically failed (it happens).
TIPS FOR LEARNING A LANGUAGE
Be dedicated and determined
This is crucial. If you have no drive to learn, you will not be able to, so you might as well give up now! Languages are hard, and require much time and effort to learn, they are no walk in the park. Make sure you have time allocated to learn and ensure that you intend to focus during that time.
Get the right materials
The right materials can make or break your learning. For instance, a really boring but overwhelming textbook will put you right off. Which is why books that are aimed at younger students are often better when starting out, they’re made to be approachable and easy to follow. Make sure to invest in some CDs and some workbooks too, you need to be able listen to things to know the pronunciation, and a workbook to put your skills to the test.
Speak to people
This can either be going to a proper class where you’ll be with other learners and a qualified teacher, or speak to native speakers. You need to put your work to practice and also have another person correct you. Without intervention from others you might learn things in the wrong way!
Whether this is travelling to the country in question (which realistically is the best way) or by watching films, listening to music, reading in the language, immersion is a great way to test yourself both under pressure and without pressure.
HOW EASY IS IT TO ADAPT?
Not as easy as you might have thought! In classes, and learning myself, my comprehension of Japanese is pretty good, and I can get sentences out. However, last time I went to Japan, I was just one walking fail. I couldn’t even explain to a member of staff at a restaurant that I wanted a table for four properly…he thought I wanted to eat at four.
Basically, you may think you will be able to communicate, but when you’re hit with some vocabulary you’ve never heard before, and the other person in the conversation speaks with speed without considering you’re not fluent, it can become an issue. Of course in the past during other trips, I’ve found it easy. At Mt Takao I was able to converse with a lovely kind man at the monkey sanctuary, with my broken Japanese and his broken English we had a good convo!
Some people will help you and understand your lack of fluency, but remember some will not and conversations that you plan in your head will often not happen! I feel like this will be much less of a problem next time I visit Japan, as I have 12 more months of learning (and two terms of intensive classes!) but as a beginner, remember you will get frustrated and you will not be able to use the language as much as you would like to, ultimately you will always need and want to learn more.
WHY IT’S USEFUL WHEN TRAVELLING TO NEW COUNTRIES
- Being able to say ‘I don’t speak (insert language here)’ or ‘Could you speak a little slower? I struggle with (insert language here)’ or ‘Does anyone understand simple English?’ can make conversing a whole lot easier if you need something!
- Even if you only learn a couple of phrases to help your manners: Please, thank you, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, pardon etc will mean even if you cannot communicate well, the people of that country will understand you’re not a rude person or mute if you’re in an awkward situation.
- If you learn certain words for foods, directions this too can help you. Combine this with ‘I don’t speak very good (insert language here)’ and people will be willing to help you with whatever you have asked, and they will bear in mind to speak simply and slowly (or will sometimes reply back with broken english!)
- People will be more willing to engage with you if you speak in their language. It says a lot about you if you are willing to take the time to learn a few phrases, you’re not just travelling for the photos and to tick items off a list!
- Finally, isn’t it frustrating not being able to talk to people as you would normally?!
I hope you found this post helpful, and I hope some of you have considered maybe learning to speak in another tongue!
Have any of you learnt any languages in the past, or in fact are any of you bilingual? If not would you consider learning for the future? Also thank you to Rhiannon for inviting me to guest post on her blog! It’s been lovely! <3 Her guest post will be going on live on my blog soon if you would like to pop over and have a read!
Sophie’s Blog: sophieannetaylor.com
Sophie’s Instagram: @sophieannetaylor
Note: All photos in this post belong to Sophie.
Like this post? Pin it!
I’ve got something a bit different for you guys today! Recently I took the plunge and decided to start opening up my blog to guest posts and bloggers from all around the world. Due to my blog being focussed on travel and lifestyle, there are a huge amount of potential categories which can be featured, while still entertaining my current readers and any future readers!
The first instalment of Travel Guest Posts here on Rhiannon Travels, is by the lovely Emily from Fijord (you can check out her blog, here!) Emily’s blog is filled with a wide range of topics, including her series ‘Learning How To’s’, where she writes helpful and unique posts on all things us as adults are required to learn!
Read Emily’s post all about how she was able to combine her love for travel and ballet, and has since then, danced her way to dozens of beautiful places around the world!
To say that my curiosity for the world is something that I’ve cultivated from a very young age would be dishonest. I never went on many vacations with my family and if I really think about the reason why, it probably has to do with my life tumbling into the path of a ballerina from the age of five. Ballet prevented me from travelling? Yes. At the beginning, it very much did. It was a serious time commitment and I never really had the time to take a holiday. And it’s also a very costly extracurricular to get into. So, instead of sipping on virgin Mimosas on the beach, I was sewing pointe shoes in between classes.
Ironically enough, it is ballet what later brought me to travel very much. After graduation, and with the notion that I wanted to dance professionally, I was ready to set off into the world and audition for ballet companies to be able to claim my career as a ballet dancer. Of course, this is no easy thing to do. The ballet job market, not unlike any other job market, is insanely competitive, and often depends on being in the right place at the right time, or just being lucky. So, with only a small handful of companies in Canada, I decided to broaden my horizons and contact companies overseas. I was then invited to a few auditions in varying cities across Europe and so began my first major travel adventure.
I didn’t really want to leave Canada. Canada was my home. It was everything I had ever known. My family was there and my friends were too. So the idea of going to across Europe alone was daunting. And ballet company auditions are incredibly intimidating – hundreds of people competing for just one or two positions. Odds are you won’t even get seen in a crowd this big, but you have to try anyways.
My job hunt took me from Toronto to some incredible cities: Montreal, Copenhagen, Oslo, Prague, Bordeaux and Edinburgh. It really opened my eyes to what else is out there in the world and when I returned home to my family I had a completely fresh perspective. The whole world was out there and I had the chance to end up anywhere thanks to my profession. Instead of being scared, I became excited.
I had also been bit by my first travel bug – an unconquerable itch that could only be cured by booking another plane ticket. Since then, I’ve had a much easier time booking trips and holidays. I’ve gone to Iceland (which became my first travel dream), Berlin, Malmö, Miami, all across Canada, an island in Croatia, Bergen, and hopefully more to come. My current travel dreams include Japan, South Africa and Portugal.
Following my whole audition tour, I was offered a dancing job with Tivoli Ballet Theatre in Copenhagen and have been living there ever since. The fears of leaving the nest I was nurtured in was still there. It was a leap of faith moving countries but as of now, I have no regrets in the move. I’ve gained so much from the experience and have grown into my independence. I’m unsure if I’ll be in Copenhagen forever but my openness to a new destination is even stronger now than ever. I’m constantly learning, and with a world so fascinatingly big, I don’t think I can ever stop learning.
Emily’s Blog | Emily’s Instagram
Emily’s story of seeing the world through her love and passion for ballet, is such an inspiring one. So if you’ve got a dream that you want to pursue, but you also want to travel around the world, why not combine the two? Emily shows that it can most definitely be done!
If you’re interested in writing a guest post for my new series Travel Guest Posts, please don’t be shy – send me an email! Let’s chat about all the options there are in regards to guest posting on Rhiannon Travels. I’m super excited to share your stories, whether they’re about travel, your blogging success or tips and tricks that you’ve learnt throughout your life on almost any topic!
Shoot me an email at: contact @ rhiannontravels (dot) com
Obviously, take out the spaces and (dot) is an actual dot.
I’d love to hear your ideas! Don’t be shy. I don’t bite 😉