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Reasons to Learn a New Language Before You Travel

By Samuel Phineas Upham

When you travel, learning a new language can offer an incredible benefit to you. Aside from feeling less lost, you’ll actually feel free to get around and explore parts of a city that might have otherwise turned you off. That’s not the only reason to bother learning a new language. Here are just a few possible encounters where knowing even a hint of the native tongue will help.

Free Yourself from the Tourist Itinerary

When you can speak another language, you’re able to ask for things that might be off the beaten path for normal tourists. If you get lost, you’re also able to ask for directions to help you return to your destination. You’re far more likely to have unique, memorable moments if you know the language and speak with natives.

Learn More about the Culture

If you can read the written language, which is more difficult depending on where you choose to travel to, you can learn quite a bit about the culture and its history. Especially in Asian countries, where you’ll find lots of temples and memorials.

Meeting the Locals

Certain countries are very outwardly friendly, especially to tourists. Knowing the language gives you the opportunity to get to know these people and speak with them one on one. You might find they speak a bit of your language too. This opens the door to private parties, home visits and lots of other activities your travel agent can’t plan for you.

Explore the Arts

When you can understand a spoken language, you can watch films or listen to music with a firmer grasp of what the lyrics and words mean. We read many adaptations of books, and watch movies with stories that originate in other countries. If you can learn the language, you’ll have access to the source material for another layer of entertainment.


About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Samuel Phineas Upham website or Facebook.

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