From the MailBag: Do You Need to Speak The Language?

by brian on November 28, 2008

Loyal reader Darice writes:

One question for you…. do you speak other languages? How are you managing to communicate in each country?


The answer I am communicating fine, because I speak English.

People don’t travel because they think that because they can’t speak the language, they won’t be able to do anything.

So wrong…

It helps to learn a few key phrases in any language:

Where is the bathroom?
Thank you
Excuse Me

But the travel industry is based on English. Most every hotel, airport and restaurant has English speakers, signs, etc. Here in Hong Kong as was the case in Tokyo, the subway system is in both English and the local language.

Air traffic control is all done in English, so every pilot knows English, whether she/he is Brazilian or Hungarian. Most flight attendants are bi and tri-lingual, with English being one of the languages.

Despite what you’ve seen in the news in the last few days, the vast majority of people admire the West and want to learn English. Western English speakers generally have:

The least visa restrictions, so they can travel almost anywhere.

The most disposable income to take vacations overseas and spend while they are there.

So people know that if they learn English, they can raise their standard of living.

Huge, huge demand for English teachers overseas.

So don’t let the fact that you don’t know Brazilian Portugese, Russian, Japanese or Arabic scare you.

If you speak English you can get by EASILY. I am living that truth right now…

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