To begin with, travelling is an exceptionally amazing aspect of people’s lives which undoubtedly infects everyone within an earshot. It is not only a great chance to get acquainted with different cultures, try national cuisines, and meet new people but also a chance to find perfect practice in speaking English. In this article I’ll try to outline some crucial tips of how to make your travel easier and more enjoyable with the help of the English language. In order not to sound unfounded I will base my tips and suppositions on my personal travel experience.
Having travelled to different countries I came to the conclusion that before every trip one has to be ready to answer the following questions:
- What do I know and need to know about the country I’m heading to?
- What should I anticipate?
- What to do if…?
Tackling the first question, you have to bear in mind that both English — speaking countries as well as those, where English is used as a second language, speak “different English”; I mean there are dozens of accents you have to be aware of. To get to know them you can watch some videos or listen to the podcasts in which the accent of a particular country will be heard. Knowing that, you will ease the understanding as well as reduce the feeling of being “shocked”.
As for the anticipations, I must say that the reality doesn’t always coincide with something you’ve been taught or prepared for. For example my every trip to Egypt or Turkey gets limited to the questions like: “Can I have a coffee? Could we make a deal (while haggling at the market), Where can I find a camel? J” instead of expected debates on some serious topics, that I was ready for. Additionally, when my family was taking a sightseeing tour around Paris, Rome and Barcelona, sure I had to tune my ears while listening to the audio guide in English. However, you can always get a Russian-speaking guide if you don’t feel comfortable enough with English. As a matter of fact the things I asked local people about started with either “Where is…sth.? E.g.
(Where is Louvre, Eiffel Tower, The Vatican, etc.)” or “How can I get to….(the same places).” Therefore the conclusion is that if you opt for the beach hotel holiday, you’d better learn words, phrases and questions used in a restaurant, hotel, bar, pool, etc. If you are about to take a shopping trip to Italy, certainly you have to learn some questions about size/colour/price/payment and prices by heart. Finally, if you are planning to travel to Britain or the USA, you’ll definitely have to fuse all the things mentioned before and search for some additional useful phrases depending on the purpose of your journey.
The third aspect is connected with people’s personal doubts and fears of panic-mongers.
- What if I’m afraid of speaking?
My advice is to overcome this barrier and remember that nobody will punish you for any error you make. Moreover, through making mistakes you learn, therefore without speaking you don’t.
- What if I forget how to say some word in English?
Rather simple way I’d recommend you is to get a good e-dictionary on your phone or buy a paper one; they are both good, yet a bit time-consuming. That’s why try describing the word or object using relative clauses, e.g. “Have you got a thing people brush their teeth with? →tooth-brush; or “Where can I find a place, which I can get money from (cash-point machine), etc.”
- What if I get lost?
The first practical tip I can give is to study the topic “Giving and asking for directions” with your teacher. The second one, which is even more sensible, is to take your English teacher with you. Thus, you will kill two birds with one stone: you’ll never get lost or forget words moreover having a good mood is guaranteed with such a companion.J