The benefits of short trips abroad!How short trips abroad can be beneficial to your language learning
After a week in Spain I carefully observed how knowing a foreign language can be beneficial. It goes without saying that speaking can significantly help, but other aspects of language learning can too.
During short trips abroad it's quite unlikely that you're going to find yourself in a deep conversation when speaking a foreign language. It often tends to be short conversations, such as when you're asking for directions or ordering food.
By being able to read and listen to some of a language and being aware of some cultural aspects can still benefit your trip enormously. This in turn can add value to the trip as you may do things you wouldn’t have done having not known the language.
Listening - This can help when listening out for announcements in train/bus stations and knowing what people are saying around you.
Reading - Sometimes not everything is translated into English whether that's a tourist sign, menu or a historical plaque. By not understanding the language you will miss out on certain things.
Cultural understanding - This may result in you going to a cultural festival/event which you may not have known about while learning some of the language or understanding some historical context when visiting a historical site. You may be aware of different foods and drinks and will be keen to try them. You may know about a place that the general tourist won't know about before your visit.
Each aspect of language learning has its benefits and, in turn allows you to -
Venture out of your comfort zone - Knowing the language allows you to do more things. You're more aware of what's on offer and will be keen to visit places which aren't so geared up for tourists.
Feel more at ease/be more confident - Being able to speak the language allows you to ask for help when required which makes the trip less stressful overall, especially if you're lost in an unknown place. Being able to read the language around you allows you to become more aware of your surroundings.
Enhance learning - By knowing the language already I was able to learn more by being exposed to content such as television programs, music, books, historical plaques and was therefore able to learn more about Spanish history and culture.
All in all, it's clear to see that knowing the language in some shape or form can add sheer value to your trip. Foreign places become less foreign, it takes the stress away, allows you to relax more and not be on edge which makes your trip a whole lot more enriching and enjoyable.
For more posts about languages in careers, please see Emily Nicole Boaler on LinkedIn