Travelling or living abroad? Need help talking to foreigners who don’t speak your language? Or simply would like to make new friends and initiate conversations? We can help.
This blog is specifically for those that are in an unfamiliar country trying to get by or explore more of what culture has in store for them! So make your trip even more memorable by these 5 easy pointers that can help you start a conversation with a foreigner throughout your trip.
1. Let Enthusiasm Overcome Language Barrier:
Of course, the lack of a shared language may be a significant obstacle to interaction when traveling overseas and meeting foreigners. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As an example, suppose some Norwegian friends requested your wife and you to babysit their kid, who was about five or six years old and didn’t speak a word of English at the time. Unfortunately, you did not speak Norwegian either. You assumed that our language standstill meant we’d have a calm night. Not at all. The charming toddler greets you in animated Norwegian and doesn’t stop talking for hours. You react in the same passionate tone, in English, and the conversation continues long past her bedtime, much to the delight of all concerned. Or perhaps just the act of showing interest in the conversation is more than enough to get along with someone you met at the bar.
2. Don’t Be Fooled By Foreigners:
Regardless of the preceding statement, you should definitely establish a limit on the number of tries you’re willing to make merely to start a conversation – in any language, including your own. As an example: Glaswegian bus drivers like seeming to be perplexed. But don’t be duped. This has nothing to do with misunderstanding. The driver completely knows what you’re saying. Place your money in the slot and just make one or two calm repeats of your initial request. After then, just stare back patiently until the driver, having had his wee bit of fun, jabs a button on his control panel and your ticket curls out of the machine.
3. Incorporate Native And Local Words:
Foreigners, students and tourists frequently undervalue their capacity to acquire a non-native language rapidly or to apply what they learn quickly. It’s simply a matter of paying attention to the native environment and determining which key phrases could be useful. For example, if you visit London, you will immediately discover that native Londoners refer to their subterranean rail system as ‘the tube,’ or that a ‘liveria,’ derived from the term ‘livro’ or ‘book,’ is a bookshop in any Portuguese-speaking country. This allows listeners to understand the intricacies of where you wish to go while also expanding your vocabulary.
4. Spend Time With The Locals:
Expressions of solidarity might be useful if you want to connect yourself to a group rather than an individual. If you find yourself at the Tokyo Dome stadium, for example, surrounded by tens of thousands of the home club’s devoted yet strangely well-behaved supporters, you may say something like, ‘The Giants aren’t merely the finest baseball team in Japan, are they?’ They’re said to be the greatest in the world.’
5. To Ask For Directions, Know Your Location:
You can always use an app to convey where you wish to go. It can teach you short and easy sentences while also listening for proper pronunciation. Alternatively, because English is a worldwide language, if you smile and keep it simple, foreigners will be able to assist you. However, if you are unsure about your pronunciation while asking for directions in a non-native language, bring a map, pamphlet, or image of where you wish to go with you. A stranger can observe where you’re going and steer you in the proper way. Carrying a pen with you to have them sketch you a rough map is also beneficial. As the old adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and in this instance, it truly is!
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