Why do you travel?
Perhaps not everyone dwells on this question. It may be that many people travel for the simple reason that it is fun. Visiting places – old or new – breaks up the monotony that could be one’s life. Travel opens up so many doors.
I suppose that it does not matter why you travel. As long as you enjoy it, why not?
One excellent reason for traveling to a new country, in my opinion however, is to learn the local language. It may not be that common a reason for leisure travelers, but for those who specifically want or need to learn a new language, traveling to a country where that language is spoken is fast becoming a trend.
If you are learning English, for example, you have so many options that you might even get overwhelmed. In Asia, the Philippines is the primary country to go to if you want to learn and practice English. There are several reasons for this.
One, English is widely spoken all throughout the country. Children learn how to speak English in school, and practically everyone can communicate in this language.
Two, the cost of living is very cheap compared to many countries. You can learn English without having to worry too much about your wallet.
Three, there are a lot of English language schools in the country. The Philippines is capitalizing on the high English proficiency of its citizens. As such, schools specifically targeting English language learners abound.
One thing about the Philippines is that you will be more exposed to American English. If that’s not what you want, then Australia and the UK are your best choices.
How about Spanish? You probably have just as many options for this language. Spain is an obvious choice, with the cost also not being exorbitant. An additional bonus is the touristic appeal of the country. You have beaches if that’s what gets you going, and you have the artwork of the masters if that’s what you want. And when it comes to food, you will not be lacking for wonderful choices as well! Alternatively, you can opt for other Spanish-speaking countries. South America offers plenty of alternatives, with several countries being easily accessible. The cultural possibilities are endless as well.
Chinese is another language that is being learned by more people around the world, especially those in business. Shanghai and Beijing in China are popular travel destinations, mainly because of the cultural and shopping experiences, but they are also good choices for learning the language. If you want something off the mainland, you can opt for Macau or Hong Kong. I recommend Macau because of the more laid back ambiance (although they have lots of casinos in certain parts!), but if you’re a city dweller who loves the hustle and bustle of concrete jungles, Hong Kong will delight you!
The next time you plan an extended trip, why don’t you consider learning a language? It doesn’t have to be your main goal, but learning a new language will definitely make your trip more worthwhile and add value to your “traipsing”.
Karine Chan is a wannabe globetrotter who makes it a point to extended take time off from work on a regular basis. During her travels, she also tries to expand her knowledge by learning a new language is possible. Later this year, she is spending a month in Bangkok and is enrolling in a study Thai.