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What Languages Should You Learn To Travel Around The World?



What languages do you have to learn to travel? Is it mandatory to speak English? How many languages do you speak? 

Those are frequent questions that potential travelers who see in the language barrier a possible limitation make. That's why I decided to write this post with some ideas and tips on how to approach this issue and make the obstacle an opportunity. I hope it serves to lose the fear of the question, clear a little myth, and also to correct some tendencies that, from my humble point of view, are bad practices.

The first obvious question would be: Do you have to speak languages to travel? 

This depends on where and how we are going to travel. Basically my position is that yes, it is always convenient to learn languages, the more the better. Language skills increase a traveler's ability to understand the culture that surrounds him.

Advantages of learning a few phrases in native languages

- When traveling in areas with a strong indigenous presence, such as the Bolivian altiplano, knowing a few Aymara or Quechua words / phrases will help us break the ice, dampen the natural timidity of the local culture and make friends more easily.

- People will recognize the effort, even if we speak a few unconnected phrases "like Tarzan." As languages are often marginalized from the institutional, people will respect much that one tries to speak in their language. This will immediately put us above tourist status.

- In remote areas, many people will not be bilingual, especially the elderly.

I want to learn a language to travel, which one do I choose?

If you already know English and want to add one more language, you have to think about which geographical area we are most interested in. Some options are:

Where is French spoken? 

A large number of islands in the Caribbean and Pacific, such as Polynesia or New Caledonia, French Guiana in South America, Canada and Saint Pierre et Miquelon in North America. There are also islands in the Indico such as Mayotte or Reunion. French has many speakers in countries that were once under French rule, such as Syria and Lebanon in the Middle East, or Laos and Cambodia in Southeast Asia. There are more people who learn it as a second language than German or Italian, for example.

Which countries speak Russian? 

Russian was the international language on the other side of the Berlin Wall. Today, speaking Russian, they can be understood with almost everyone in Eastern Europe. Both in Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, etc. Russian continues to have millions of speakers. 

Arabic, the international language of deserts

Arabic is another interesting bet. You can travel without interruption from the Mediterranean coast of Africa by Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt or Sudan and cross the Middle East through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, or also by Arabia, Yemen, Oman and the Emirates. In total, 22 countries. Although its hegemonic use fails in Turkey, it remains the sacred language in which the Qumran is written, and therefore has speakers in distant Muslim countries such as Iran or Indonesia.

I hope the post has served you!
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