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Tips on Communicating in a Foreign Country

For many people it is far easier to find cheap traveloptions, such as cheapairplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, discounttravel deals, cheapdeals, and cheap vacation packages thenit is to speak the local language at an overseas destination.

The following is how to communicate effective when you donot speak the native tongue, according to Lynn Addison:

Learna few words and/or phrases spoken at your destination prior to departing suchas hello, goodbye, please, thank you, help, Im lost, and do you speak English?

Facialexpressions can be used to communicate quite effectively at times. You can often find help by looking quizzical,confused, worried, or that you are friendly and open. Almost everyone appreciates a smile. However, you should be aware that Americanstend to smile more than people of some other nationalities. A smile of greeting is less likely to bereciprocated in Germany, Japan, or Russia.

Usingyour head can often help you to express yourself. Nodding generally means yes, while shakingyour head means no. However, you shoulddo a little research about your destination prior to departing because somelocals interpret head movements differently. In Bulgaria nodding and shaking your head mean the opposite of what itmeans in the U.S.

Gesturingwith your hands, such as pointing, can be effective. Keep in mind though that almost everyhand/finger movement is likely to offend someone somewhere. Ideally avoid using any single fingergestures and point with your whole hand. The meaning of hand signs varies widely between countries. A thumb and forefinger A-OK gesture in aFrench restaurant means that you have assigned a scored of zero to a meal. Likewise, a thumbs up is a rude gesture inAustralia, Greece, and the Middle East.

Ifyour hand/finger gestures are misunderstood, use the namaste gesture: press your hands together with your fingerspointing upward and your thumbs close to your chest, and bow your headslightly. Almost everywhere this gestureis a sign of peace and respect.

Carrypaper and a pen since sketches can be a very effective way to communicate. Also a local person can use your notepad towrite or draw a map.

Travel with a paper map in the locallanguage because it is often easier to look at with someone else than a map onyour phone. Hotel front desks usuallyhave free maps available and will trace your desired route on a map. Ask your hotel employee to write down namesand addresses of where you want to go so that you can show them to a taxidriver or a local when asking for directions. Make certain that you carry your hotels business card in the locallanguage.

Checkouttranslation apps that you can use on your cell phone. Some are free, while other cost $2 orless. Apps created for a specificlanguage allow the user to tap a phrase and hear it spoken by locals. Some apps will translate your written wordsinto the local language and will translate what another person says intoEnglish. Google Translate is verypopular and is available to handle 50 languages.

Useyour cell phone to take pictures of intersections, buildings, signs, and otherthings that act as landmarks along your patch so that you can retrace yoursteps with photos.

Useyour imagination and look for people who are interested in practicing theirEnglish with you. You can often findsuch people while browsing in bookstores, walking through a university campus,or even by sitting down in a coffee shop and starting a conversation with asmile or question.

Checkout websites that encourage interaction with locals via casual sightseeingtours, meals, shopping and other experiences. The Global Greeter Network is where local tourism boards matchtourists with volunteers who take visitors around. Other website worth looking into includeTours By Locals and Vayable.

Tips on Communicating in a Foreign Country
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