Learning the Local Language Tips

Learning the Local Language Tips

If you speak English, you’re probably in luck in most major European cities you visit, at least for the most basic of communications.

That being said, if you are traveling off the beaten path, or want to make sure a particular point is getting across, or simply trying to fit in with your host country, you may want to learn a bit of the local language.

You certainly don’t need to aim to be fluent in Italian if you’re off for a weekend in Milan (unless you have an actual desire to learn Italian).  A vocabulary of 100 words or less should get you well on your way to local self-expression.  “Thank you,” “excuse me,” “where is the toilet, ” and “blackjack” (if you’re planning on hitting a European Casino) are some of the more useful terms you might want to memorize - just enough to convey your most basic human needs.   

So unless you’ve been blessed with a language tutor from an early age, or learned a particular foreign language in school, the question is how to begin?

There are several popular, relatively inexpensive ways to go about learning foreign language skills, including the numerous European languages.

One is phrasebooks on tape or CD, i.e. recorded lessons teaching you the basic phrases in your language of choice.  For the more ambitious, you can also listen to recorded language lessons, which include sentence structure and common verb usage.

If you prefer, you can take a course online, which allows you to follow a particular set program or work with a “live” teacher.

You can also try the more old-fashioned ways such as a language learning book, a class at your local community center, or a private tutor.

Whichever method you pick, think first about your goals (how well you want to be able to communicate), and second about your preferred method of learning (visual, oral, etc.).

Upcoming Events Across Europe

  • Rhine in Flames, Germany

    Germany’s most famous waterway gets lit up by fireworks displays every Saturday night in May. The illuminating spectacle takes place all along various points on the Rhine River each weekend. Each town along the river celebrates with events and festivals which include music, dancing, and great food. There’s no better way to brighten up your weekend German getaway.

  • Cannes Film Festival, France

    The Super Bowl of cinema, the Cannes Film Festival is arguably Europe’s biggest event of the calendar year. Tens of thousands flock to the French Riviera to catch a glimpse of some of the world’s top actors walking the red carpet steps. Glitz and glamour rule the day as films of all genres take center stage from May 11–22.

  • Chelsea Flower Show, England

    Put on by the Royal Horticultural Society from May 24–28, be prepared to be greeted by 11 acres of the UK's finest flowers, gardens, and nursery exhibits. You’ll surely develop a passion for plants as you stroll through the vibrant, blooming event grounds.