Traveling may often be full of new joys, experiences and life-long memories, but it doesn’t always go so well, at least not for everyone—especially when it comes to newbies. For example, we all have that friend who ended up in Nowheresville because he didn’t know how to read signs, or maybe you’ve had that awkward moment yourself, when you stare at a menu and everything looks both interesting and dangerous. Whether you need to get to a specific place or are just struggling to ask for the bathroom, the language barrier can really mess up your journey. Even if you are one of those people who just love getting into funny situations, there are probably better ways to do it than not understanding a single word.
There’s a popular joke in Mexico about a tourist who’s about to spend some weeks in the country. Worried about his total lack of Spanish skills, he asks a friend who has been to Mexico before for some advice. After admitting that he barely learned Spanish himself and teaching his friend some basic words, he decides to give one more tip to his troubled friend: “Whenever you really need to eat, just ask for a torta de jamón (a sort of bread roll with ham, veggies and dressing); it can save your day.” It did, in fact, and the traveler ate nothing but torta de jamón for a whole week. But when Monday came, he already had new words to be tasted: huevos (eggs) and unos huevos, por favor (some eggs, please). He proudly walked into a restaurant, picked a table and immediately asked the waitress to take his order. When she came, he smiled and said, “Unos huevos, por favor,” to which she replied with another question, “Motuleños, albañiles, rancheros, divorciados, estrellados, revueltos, en salsa o a la Mexicana?” For an answer, she simply got “Torta de jamón!”
We obviously can’t learn all the words and slang in a short period, but if you are planning to travel, it might not hurt to start getting your feet wet in the local language. You might not be able to distinguish between huevos motuleños and revueltos, but at least you’ll be able to understand some of the ingredients on the menu description. For this we would like to recommend you to learn Spanish with Wlingua, a multi-device language-learning course that will help you to brush up on some Spanish before and during your journey. With 600 lessons developed by teaching professionals, the courses build and reinforce basic, intermediate or higher levels with easy exercises, user-friendly software that encourages learners with constant feedback, advice, and social media content, and a rewards system that pushes students to go further and learn more.