Moving to a foreign country can be a pretty daunting prospect, from finding somewhere to stay and sleep to ordering yourself a beer at the bar, things can get pretty confusing, pretty quickly. Therefore many people will take the opportunity to at least attempt to learn some of the local lingo.
The length of your trip will most likely play a part in deciding wether you will learn the language or not, a long weekend in Prague probably isn’t worth studying a 30 hour course for to be fair. A 6 month stay in Berlin probably would be!
Motivation is key to learning a new language, you’re going to need quite a lot of it! Just the thought of learning a new language can be enough to put people off straight away and you can add a multitude of excuses as to why you can’t get round to starting (I certainly did), however, if you put a little bit of time and effort in it can really make a massive difference to your digital nomad experiences.
When we first decided to move to Portugal I had grand ideas of learning the language and becoming fluent within a few months, that didn’t happen. Every day I woke up deciding that today was the day I’d learn but by lunchtime the sun was up and the beach was near and the language learning was off with the seagulls. It took me awhile to realise what I was missing out on by not speaking the local language and now, although not fluent by any stretch of the imagination I find myself enjoying living here more and more.
There are many reasons for digital nomads to learn a new language but I find that one of the greatest and most obvious is how much simpler it can make daily tasks become. It puts an end to hardcore guess work in shops, trying to decide wether you have picked up the right ingredients or not. You can quickly order yourself a large beer or glass of wine without resorting to a quick game of charades with the barman. Also, it usually makes people smile! I’m not sure if that’s with me or at me but at least your making someone happy eh?! Seriously though, people are much more patient and understanding than you might think. I’d be very surprised if anyone actually laughed at you maliciously, they are most likely going to be pleased that you are making the effort to learn that so many don’t..
If you’re planning on making several short stays in different countries then you probably won’t be to concerned with learning the correct Polish way to ask for a bag of crisps, for this type of digital nomad I would highly recommend the Lonely Planet series of books, available in print or e-Book format, these books not only give you great tips and knowledge on various countries, they also include several key phrases and words which can be extremely helpful along your trip.
However your digital nomad experience is shaping up hopefully, over the next few posts we can help you find a method of learning that suits your plans.