Although English is the language of business, the ability to speak like locals in their local language helps in settling down fast. It can be frustrating when you are not able to ask for directions or order a simple meal when English isn’t widely spoken.
In this article, we share some tips on how to speak like the locals and be accepted. As an expat, it is a skill you might not be expected to have but can be a great asset at work and other social situations.
1. Start with everyday words and phrases
From greetings to getting directions to the nearest supermarket, all you need to do is listen and express them in the local language. You’ll be surprised how easy they can be. But unless you make the effort to, you will not get started.
2. Immerse yourself
If you are willing to invest both head and heart to learn a new language, you are likely to shorten the time taken to learn it. The head will come from formal lessons, online or in the classroom. The heart, on the other hand, comes from putting yourself in everyday situations where you have little choice but to listen, and hopefully, speak the local language.
While lunchtime conversations with your colleagues is a good place to start, there are other opportunities too that can involve members of your family. Sign up to be a member of the local community club, sports association or school committee.
3. Fluency over accuracy
Some languages can be tongue twisters. But this should not deter you from learning it. Speak it, even if you may sound weird. Practice makes perfect. Learning a language is not about sounding like the locals. It’s all about getting the message across.
4. Make mistakes
It’s the fastest way to learn anything, languages included. The more mistakes you make, the more likely you are trying to use it. But to make this work, you have to resist the temptation to resort to English.
Use it or lose it. This principle applies to learning foreign languages as well. Start with simple everyday conversations.
For more advice and help on your expat adventure and particularly with your expat tax returns, contact our team at Expat Tax Services today!