When we travel abroad we face a whole new world: people speak a language that is not our native tongue (and even if it is, as in the case of Spain and Venezuela’s Spanish, we may encounter crucial language differences as well), we are not familiar with streets, we are in a culture which habits we don’t know, etc. In such a context, it is common to feel out of place. Knowing the language spoken at the new place, however, will turn the feeling of awkwardness into excitement. When taking French lessons London students know the importance of knowing French in France, as in this country in particular they prefer that visitors make an effort to learn their language, or at least try to speak it, as a sign of respect. They find your expecting them to speak English rude.
Be careful with false friends. A word may sound like it means something, while it actually has a whole different meaning. Say the Spanish word “embarazado”: it sounds like “embarrassing”, doesn’t it? Well, don’t dare you say that you are “embarazado” in any Spanish speaking country, or you’ll come out as a really freaky person. That word actually means “pregnant”, but not only that, the “o” in the end makes it an adjective modifying a male noun. In other words, if you say you’re “embarazado” you’ll imply not only that you’re pregnant but also that you’re a man.
At the Local Restaurant
When you’re abroad, you want to try the typical local dishes. However, the more the “local” the restaurant is, the smallest the chance that the menu will be translated. Some places offer really quirky dishes many of us may not even think of trying. You may be thinking that the only country where this happens is China, but you’re wrong: fried brain sandwiches are offered in the Ohio River Valley, USA. How about ordering “Rocky Mountain Oysters”? Nothing sounds wrong, right? Well, it’s actually the fancy name given to deep fried testicles of a buffalo, bull, or boar. They are also served in some parts of the US and Canada. Above all, if you ever go to Korea, make sure you understand at least the basics of food vocabulary and by no means order “balut”, a chicken egg with a nearly developed embryo boiled…unless your stomach is strong enough!
The examples above were pretty clear-cut, weren’t them? So make sure you check out the courses offered at www.languagetrainers.co.uk before your next trip.