Do You Make These 4 Mistakes When You Travel Abroad?

David - About Travel - October 13, 2020

Ever wondered how certain people could learn a new language in no time just by living abroad? If you've ever lived abroad, even for a short time, you know deep inside that living in a new place doesn't necessarily imply learning a new language.

Obviously, getting one's hands on a new language takes time and effort. But you can definitely speed up this process thanks to several life-changing tips. In this article I'll tell you how I dramatically changed the way I travel and live abroad to learn new languages in the blink of an eye.

On the one hand, these tips enabled me to learn new languages quickly. But on the other hand, they enabled me to embrace new cultures and meet wonderful people all along.

Let's see what are the 4 mistakes you must avoid when you go abroad and wish to embrace a new language.

Do You Make These 4 Mistakes When You Travel Abroad? - Illustration - Picture

Staying With Foreigners Instead of Locals

That's the number one mistake to avoid, and possibly the worst thing you can do when you're abroad. Most people think that staying with foreigners or just staying with people who speak the same language as they do is a good idea. But it's not.

When you stay with such people, you keep yourself from meeting locals and living life through their perspective. And that's the reason why you've got no idea how people live, what they eat, how they speak their language in real life, along with all the other tiny things that compose their culture.

Long story short, if you're living or simply traveling abroad, stay with locals. Avoid people that come from your country. Live the full "abroad" experience.

Do You Make These 4 Mistakes When You Travel Abroad? - Illustration - Picture

Buying Imported Products Only

What happens when you repeatedly expose your brain to new words? It starts to remember what they mean so you can use them! And what's a thing that you do quite often when you live abroad? The groceries!

Simply put, please stop buying imported products when you're at the supermarket. Buy local food, see how it's packaged, see how it's named, and figure out if it's good for you. That will help you enlarge your vocabulary quickly.

Don't be afraid to spend hours trying to decipher what's written on the packagings. Wing up your smartphone, launch Google Translate, and start learning new words.

Imported products are expensive, and they have English writing everywhere. Buy local food, and get used to the words, how they're used, and how they're written in terms alphabet, gender, and plural.

Do You Make These 4 Mistakes When You Travel Abroad? - Illustration - Picture

Going to International Chains

Zara, Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Five Guys, McDonald's, Subway, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell. Forget about these. How are you even supposed to embrace a new culture if you keep spending your time and eating at places that serve foreigner-friendly junk food?

At these places, you have lower chances to meet locals and enjoy the experience from the perspective of a native individual.

That's why you should definitely go to chains that are only available within the country you're in, and go to the local shops that are held by locals. They will like the fact that a foreigner's interested in their business, and they'll give you tons of tips to survive and enjoy your new home.

Live like a local.

Do You Make These 4 Mistakes When You Travel Abroad? - Illustration - Picture

Avoiding Foreigner-Unfriendly Places Where People Don't Speak Your Language

That's the most common mistake I've seen so far. Foreigners tend to avoid places where people can't speak English for instance, because of a lack of education or interest in that language. Hence, these people never get the chance to experience what I call "survival mode".

See, when you're in a farmer's market and you've gotta do your groceries and buy your fruits and vegetables but nobody speaks your language, that is survival mode. Having no other choice but to both speak people's language and get them to help you is insane.

That will help you see how people interact, and how to express your needs in a new language. That said, the grocery-related tip that we saw earlier comes in handy here. If you know the vocabulary for fruits and vegetables thanks to going twice a week to the supermarket, the farmer's market will feel trouble-free.

Don't be afraid to go to places where people can't understand you unless you speak their language. That will serve as an intense speaking practice session.

Do You Make These 4 Mistakes When You Travel Abroad? - Illustration - Picture

Wrap It Up

When you look back on the last trip you've made, what do you think of it? Could you embrace the culture? What about the language? What about the people?

If you plan to travel only for going out, drinking alcohol, and partying, then this article will never come in handy.

But if you intend to live the full "abroad" experience, meet wonderful people, live like a local, and learn a new language quickly, then you'd better apply these 4 tips daily.

Just try to maximize these things: spending time with locals, living like a local, and avoiding foreigners and people who can only speak your language or English.

Do You Make These 4 Mistakes When You Travel Abroad? - Illustration - Picture

Additional Resources

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