Living Locally | Make the first attempt at communication
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to watch other travelers as they interacted with locals and responded to their new environment. I have witnessed some wonderful encounters but I have also had the unfortunate chance to see some horrific examples of “ugly Americanism.”
For those of you who missed my first post, I am taking some time to explain each of my five steps to more meaning travel so that you can have more than just a great trip this year. I call this Living Locally.
STEP TWO: Make the first attempt at communication.
I do not speak any other languages fluently, but I learn to say a few simple and polite phrases in the language of any country I visit. Always ask the person if they speak English…in their language. Nothing screams “I don’t care about you” like a tourist rattling on in English on the assumption that the listener understands. While most foreigners do have at least some understanding of English, everyone appreciates even a simple effort on your part. You will also find that people are more likely to go out of their way to help if you have tried to communicate on their terms first. I have witnessed someone pretending they didn’t understand what was being said, only to later speak effortlessly with me.
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Copyright 2012 Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel