Have you ever wondered how to feel more like a local and less like a tourist? One of the most immersive ways to travel and experience a new country is by learning the local language. It's a good idea to pick a language that you're genuinely interested in and then find a country that fits your vibe. It's the ultimate culmination of learning, making friends and living abroad.
An Insider Perspective From A Female Traveller
Gloria is an avid traveller who started wandering by studying Spanish in Salamanca at the tender age of 16, she gave us some insight into her experience.
What inspired you to start exploring and seeing the world?
The first time I went abroad alone I was 16. I really wanted to travel but couldn't find any friends to come with me and where do you go as a 16-year-old alone? On the TV, I always watched a particular travel show. In one episode they explained how learning a language abroad is the perfect way to travel solo.
By learning a new language, you get to know the culture from the inside and you're not alone because you have classmates from all over the world. In that show, they went to Salamanca in Spain, it's a famous student city, so I went there too. I met people from all over the world in my class. And that's when I stopped being afraid and started travelling solo and visiting my international friends.
Is there any advice you would give to women of colour that are reluctant to travel outside their comfort zone?
My advice would be to just go and travel. You can find 100 bad stories about countries but equally also 100 good stories. I heard horrible stories about Italy and racism, and I'm not saying racism doesn't exist there, but one of my favourite trips was definitely to Italy. Don't let anything stop you, but be aware and travel save. Follow reputable information on what to be aware of when travelling solo to a new place.
Gain Insight Into A New Culture
By learning a language abroad you will start to connect with more locals, you'll be able to slowly understand their stories, their lifestyles and unique perspectives. Language is truly the gateway to feeling at home in another place, no more struggling to read street signs, getting confused about food menus and no longer will you awkwardly ask questions in English. The immediate confidence boost priceless.
How To Find The Right Language Program For You
A good place to start is by thinking about your budget for the entire trip. Consider what you are willing to pay for accommodation, food, airfare and for the language classes.
Once you've considered your budget, look at which countries (where they speak the language you want to learn,) are affordable.
Consider what country is most alluring to you. For example, learning Spanish will be cheaper in Colombia over Spain but which location is more appealing to you?
Think about what the language program includes, some include accommodation while others solely consist of daily classes.
Ensure the program has good reviews, check their social profiles and check if they're on any platforms like Trust Pilot.
The time it takes to learn a new language will vary greatly. Some languages are harder to pick up, regardless don't let the hard work put you off! Taking a few months out to learn abroad could lead to some of the best memories of your life.