Visiting a country where the main language is different from your mother tongue may seem a bit daunting, especially if you are a solo traveller. Here are a couple of language tips as well as some fun ways to learn the basics of a new language, to help you while overseas and give you a little more confidence on your solo holiday…
One of my language tips for learning a new language can be done via a free language app. Simply click on Play Store if you have a smart phone and search ‘free language app’. There are a number of apps available. A personal favourite of mine, which I am currently using to improve my Italian, is Duolingo. Duolingo offers 5, 10 or 15 minute daily sessions, longer if you prefer. These can be completed at any time of the day, making it achievable to fit in, even on busy days! An icon also appears on your phone at some point during the day as a gentle reminder.
Each section has different levels to work through at your own pace. The lessons are fun and varied including multiple choice questions, listening, speaking and writing tasks. Topics covered include basic vocabulary, phrases, food, colours, feelings, animals etc.
Clicking on the ‘club’ image allows you to join a language club enabling you to practice chatting with other learners, in your chosen language.
If you are happy to pay for lessons and feel more motivated to go to a class and learn with others, then there are a number of language schools in London. Classes run daytime and evenings so you can find one to suit you. I recommend ‘Vamos‘ if you are considering learning Spanish. I brushed up on my Spanish with Vamos a while back and really enjoyed it. The teaching was of a high standard with native Spanish speaking teachers. One evening a month they offer a practice lesson with the other Spanish groups, followed by a party with tapas in a local bar. It is a wonderful social event where you can meet other people with a common interest, practicing your Spanish at the same time. Additionally, if you choose to learn the language at a higher level, Spanish trips are organised. This gives you the chance to travel overseas with a group of familiar people and absorb yourself in the language.
Learning a new language is a great solo activity regardless of whether you need it for business or travel.
Paperback/Kindle or Audio CD
Benny Lewis has the largest language learning blog in the world called ‘Fluent in 3 Months’. He claims languages can be learned in months rather than years and the key point is speaking it. Here is the link to his blog for more information. There are also a range of his ‘language hacking’ paper back books, kindle versions or audio CDs available through Amazon. I haven’t tried it yet but I am going to give it a go ahead of my visit to Amsterdam later this year.
For those of you who do not want to be using your phone on your solo holiday, or are restricted to using it in wifi areas only, I recommend investing in a good old phrase book. These are ideal for getting you out of sticky situations! Collins and Berlitz offer a great range of books in many languages.
If you are not restricted to wifi areas while you are away and don’t have time to learn a language before you travel, google translate is great to use. Just type ‘google translate’ into the address bar. From here you will be able to select your spoken language and the required language. Then simply type in the required phrase and it will be translated for you!
I hope you have found these language tips helpful for your overseas trip and have fun learning!
Suggested Further Reading:
My Solo Travel Tips page offers links to other posts useful for solo holidays, dining solo or solo activities.