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¿Habla usted español o Inglés?

As of 2019, the latest U.S. Census Bureau reports show that only 20 percent of Americans can converse in two or more languages, compared with 56 percent of Europeans. (Mathews, 2019) And while experts estimate about half of the human race is bilingual, according to the Harvard Business Review, English is the global language of business. So much so that many multinational companies have mandated English as the corporate language, further driving a wedge between native citizens and the companies they work for. (Neeley, 2012)

While English may dominate boardroom negotiations, in our experience, that determination to enforce English doesn’t always trickle down to the workforce servicing the everyday needs of the consumer. In many cases, you’ll encounter staff that has only a minimal comprehension of the English language.


Communicating with locals in their native language can make it easier to navigate and understand the culture and traditions of the destination you are visiting. Unless you’ve already taken a significant amount of immersive studies, it’s nearly impossible to learn every single word you may use on your trip, but learning the basics is possible. Simple phrases like "Where is", "bathroom", "My name is", or "taxi" can greatly enhance your travel experience and help you to avoid misunderstandings & miscommunications with local service providers.

We recommend starting to learn the language as soon as possible before your trip so that you have enough time to become familiar with its grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. There are many (free) tools available to help you learn a new language. Our favorite is Duo Lingo because both the free and subscription options are suitable for any learner, and they offer podcasts, blogs, and other resources to help you learn in your way. Having trouble remembering some key phrases? No worries! We recommend downloading and using Google Translate. It’s a free service that lets you speak, listen to, and take photos of words in any language for on-the-go translation needs.


Trying to figure out how to squeeze yet another thing into your already busy schedule? Try our favorite life hack, and use your morning potty time to do a lesson or 2 - Hey you're already sitting still - make the most of it with a quick lesson.

Learning a foreign language has been shown to improve cognitive function, memory retention, and multitasking abilities. Start your day with a quick language lesson and watch how quickly you can transform your life experiences.


References

Mathews, J. (2019, April 25). Half of the world is bilingual. What’s our problem? The Washington Post.

Neeley, T. (2012, May). Global Business Speaks English. Harvard Business Review.


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