Friday, November 30, 2012

10 Things To Learn Before Going Abroad

Going on holiday? With the tremendous number of cheap flights available (at least in Europe) there's little reason not to go to obscure places. We often browse the internet just to see where the cheapest place to go is.

Budget airlines are getting ridiculous.

So what if you've found some cheap flights to Poland? Are you going to just go along for the weekend, shout at everyone in English, and hope they understand? We recommend that you take the time to do a bit of research. Find out what language or languages are spoken where you're going and learn the ten following things:

1. Greetings

Learn to say hello, goodbye, good morning, good evening and good night. You can't start or end a conversation without them.

2. Asking for things

The phrases Can I have or I would like are obligatory in most situations... at least if you want something! It can be used in bars, restaurants and shops.

3. Numbers 1-1000

This sounds like a big task but if you manage to learn the numbers 1-20, you usually only have to learn the remaining decades, the word for hundred and the word for thousand. If you're going somewhere where the currency is always in large quantities (yen in Japan, for example) you will be needing these higher numbers.

4. How are you?

It's always nice to ask people how they are. People are always happier if you ask how they are in their own language, so learn how to ask and respond to these questions. You'll probably need one expression and the words for good and bad.

5. Directions

You probably don't know where everything is and sometimes even a map won't do... especially if you're venturing off the beaten path. Learn the names of important buildings, transport hubs, hospitals and of course, the best drinking spots. Then learn left, right, straight ahead and a few ordinal numbers; first, second and third should do.

Don't get lost...

6. Food and Drink

Learn the names of everyday items such as milk, bread, cheese and even some of your favourite things, or even better, learn the names of some local specialty dishes and beverages.

7. Checking In

Unless you're some sort of vagabond you'll probably have a hotel or hostel. Make sure you know how to say you have a reservation.

8. Time and Date 

With hotels, transport and events you'll need to know when things are happening. Learn the days of the week, months and how to tell the time.

9. Transport

Unless you're an avid hiker, you're probably going to be using transport at some point. At least from the airport, getting to where you're going you'll probably need to get a train, bus or even taxi. Make sure you know what they're called and learn how to tell them where you want to go.

Make sure you know how you're getting around.

10. Emergencies

Learn a couple of emergency expressions. Hopefully you'll never need them, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Learn a few key phrases about injuries, illnesses and crimes too.

Don't worry about making mistakes. Few people will expect you to have mastered their language if you're going along for a couple of days. Plus, you may even find you enjoy the language and decide to learn some more!