One of the most exciting parts of cruise ship travel can be visiting places where other languages are spoken. Sure, many people speak English in touristy areas; however, sometimes you want to be able to understand simple signs and basic courtesies in the native language. Even if you’ve had no prior foreign language learning, you can pick up a few simple words and phrases before your trip. Of course, how much time you have to plan your studies can have a big impact on how much you can learn and retain. Here are a few ways to get started, whether you’re leaving in a year or next week.
Language Learning Apps
Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone are just a few of the foreign language learning apps available. Vocabulary and simple grammar are taught via text, audio, and interactive games. The ability to take these tools with you everywhere makes practice easy. Some apps offer message boards and other ways to communicate with other learners, too. Smartphone notifications are good reminders to keep at it. The cost of these programs vary from free to one-time fee to subscription model.
Use the News
Online or on paper, make reading the news in a foreign language a daily habit. You’ll pick up on vocabulary and grammar usage. In addition, watch news broadcasts in the chosen language. Newsreaders generally have almost accent-less pronunciation, which can be helpful to new learners seeking to gain fluency in listening and understanding. Sentences tend to be clear and concise. The variety of content is often engaging and pretty much everyone is bound to find some part of it interesting. Content is generally educational and informative, too. This is often a low- or no-cost way of learning.
Seek Out Local Conversation
Look for opportunities to chat with native speakers who may be seeking to improve their English and work together. Explore Meetup.com to find area groups, or try schools, churches, and libraries. Put the word out among friends; perhaps a coworker or neighbor of someone you know can help, and you can help them in return.
Of course, there are formal classes. Community colleges often offer continuing education courses where foreign language might be one of the programs given. High schools also sometimes offer continuing or adult education programs for adults in the community. Enrollment and tuition fees, as well as required coursework, can vary. This might be a good option for folks who know they want to progress beyond the self-taught basics and eventually achieve native fluency.
Having a basic understanding of a foreign language can greatly enhance your next cruise ship vacation. It’s never too late to learn something new, and today’s technology makes it possible for even the busiest folks to learn at their own pace, in their own place.