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Learning a Local Language for Travelers

Updated on April 2, 2012

If you visit any local supermarket you will notice there are tons of delicacies that fill its shelves. It is stuffed full of goodies waiting to be devoured. In France we call them “delicatessen” or delicacies. There are all kinds of multicolored hors d oeuvres to serve with your favorite drink on the patio amongst friends

The new chiller cabinet in the local supermarket appears to be stuffed full of the kind of goodies you find in an up-market delicatessen. Little plastic tubs in all shades of pinks and greens, looking like the ideal hors d'oeuvres to serve with drinks on the patio.

Although you may be confused walking into a French supermarket if you are not fluent in French. There are some essential survival skills for the expat living in France we to recommend. First thing is first and that is to learn a little French. In France the word “appats” on the door of the supermarket cooler will be the first thing you see. In French it means bait. Sounds appetizing now huh? That particular cool door can save you a little embarrassment at the checkout or at the picnic you were planning that afternoon.

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It just amazes me in general when you are walking the streets and you meet a fellow expat living here and working that don’t know the basics of there countries language they are in. It is not a matter of only France but any country Spain, Germany, Italy. They come without even knowing the word a “oui” or “Non” But that would not work in European countries because ever one speaks English there right?

In many European countries there are many hotspots for local expats of course. If you stick to these areas you can pretty much get by without needing to learn the foreign language. For example parts of Dordogn ne region of France are mostly referred to as Dordogne-on-Sea because of the high numbers of British expats living there. Also places like Brittany and Normandy, These are very special hotspots for British Expats because of the short trip across the channel. Many commute weekly to and from France via the new international tunnel that is built under the channel.

The best way to start prior to becoming an expat is to see if you can locate a day or evening class that fits your schedule and learn the new language. If joining a local class is not an option there are many low cost ways you can learn as well. Many book stores have DVD or CD language courses on tape. Also a lot of libraries also have those same on DISK just remember to bring it back prior to you leaving.

Another way to get to learn the language is to watch movies or local television where available that are produced in the language of the country you are visiting. There are many available on line to download for free it will help you become more fluent in the local language prior to your departure. You may even get addicted to the show called East Enders. Incroyable Talen. You'll recognize "Un Diner Presque Parfait" as being "Come Dine with Me" with a French twist.

Another great resource that you may not even have noticed is your email box. In your research of your new country of living have you ever noticed how many emails drop into your box on a daily common? Instead of saying “Non a la Pub” or no junk mail try looking at those flyers, brochures, magazines as a free opportunity to learn your new French language. It is a do it yourself approach but then again you are an expat making it on your own why not use every available resource for that.

If you still feel as an expat that learning the local language is a waste of time remember when you’re with your new found love on a hot summer day next to a beautiful flowing river bank along the beautiful river. Still warm and fresh from your trip to the local supermarket you pull out your fresh crusty baguette and spread on a nice layer of delicious pate de mealworm!


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