When you live somewhere and don’t know the local language, it can be an anxiety-provoking experience. Adding to the stress, local residents may be less inclined — or able — to provide directions and assistance to people who can’t speak the language.
Here are a few useful tips to help ease the transition while you learn a new language:
Words and Phrases
When living in a new country, learning the basics of the local language will help with two things: Locals will recognize that you are trying to assimilate to the culture and therefore be more patient, and it will also help you communicate basic necessities.
Make sure you know the common greeting and polite phrases in the local language:
· Thank you
· You’re welcome
· Excuse me
· I’m sorry
You can also combine the following phrases with nouns to articulate many of the things you’ll need to say:
· I need …
· I want …
· I have …
· I’m looking for …
· I (don’t) like …
· Where is …
· How much …
For more complicated sentences, try using a translation app that can help you learn on the go!
Some foreign languages such as Greek and Mandarin use a different alphabet, so consider using a map with the native language and an English translation.
Use a smartphone whenever you can. Find an app that lets you use the camera in your smartphone to help translate the words on signs or menus.
Finally, see if you can find a group of people that are also not native to the country. This will make it easier to ask questions and learn along with them. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions and listen to locals speak to pick up on phrases that you may not learn from a book or an app.
Don’t worry about speaking the local language when you need to communicate with your family back home. Instead, find out how to send money online with Western Union and send them a gift or your support to stay connected from your new country.