Learning a language to use on excursions

We booked a South America trip next year. Because we will be gone for 2 months and stopping in many Spanish-speaking ports, we decided learning a bit of conversational Spanish might be a good idea.


Has anyone else done this and was it worth the time you spent learning some conversational phrases?


Thank you

6 Answers

We have not done this for a cruise, however, we have learned that if you try to speak to people in their native language, usually they appreciate the gesture. If they know English, they will often let you struggle for a bit, then converse in English. You might feel better knowing some of the language, so that you get a better understanding of the country. If you visit any monuments, it is unlikely the words on them will be written in English. I'd say go for it!

I took Spanish in college, and I brush up before going to a Spanish-speaking country.

Yes, my husband learned some Spanish, and also Finnish for a trip we had a few years ago to Helsinki. The people in shops seemed to appreciate him speaking in their language.

Agree with everyone's comments...

With the exception of Paris and Berlin (based on personal experiences), most people do seem to appreciate when a foreigner makes an effort to speak their language when visiting. As they say, "When in Rome...."

I used to speak Chinese when I lived in Taiwan, German when I lived in West Germany and a bit of Korean when I lived in South Korea. (I no longer am able to speak any Chinese and very limited of the other due to not using them). I found that as long as you attempt to speak in the language of the person you are speaking with, no matter how badly you butcher it, you will get better results.

I recently had a discussion with a customer service representative on board. As we were talking, I noticed her name tag stated she was from Mexico. After we were done, I said "Gracias". The genuine smile she gave makes me think that made her day!

I did take a conversational Italian course before a trip to Italy & it did help somewhat. It wasn't long enough, though, for me to get proficient. My husband is now taking a much deeper Italian course on his computer just to improve his skills in the language.


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