What countries have you been to?
Hello everyone! Today, I just want you to tell me your story. How many countries have you been to and what it was like speaking the language of that country? Describe in great detail your experience, and the journey of traveling to that country and learning the language. How were the people, the culture, the cuisine, the architecture, etc... I personally never been out of country but I want to hear your story! Thanks.
Canada - all over
USA - all over
Mexico - Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Mérida
Thailand - Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi
Myanmar - walked across the border from northern Thailand
Ireland - Dublin, all over
UK - London, York, Edinburgh, Belfast
France - Paris
One of the most interesting parts was northern Thailand and going into Myanmar. We were in the far north of Thailand with a Thai-Canadian friend. Her family is from the northernmost Thai town of Mae Sai which borders Myanmar. I think not many tourists go that far north in Thailand, and especially being Caucasian we were openly stared at all the time. When we rode on buses (benches in the back of pick up trucks) we knew people were discussing us because they would look at us and make hand gestures about how big we were while they chatted in Lanna, the local language. One person even came up to my husband and poked him in the stomach with a finger and said "fat" in English before walking off.
Anyway, we decided to cross into Myanmar to get a stamp in our passport and say we had been there. We had to walk across a bridge and then meet with the military in a small hut. After they inspected us and we paid the equivalent of $20 USD for a day pass, we wandered into Tachileik, Myanmar. We immediately felt an uncomfortable vibe. We were watched everywhere we went. We wanted to get a souvenir, but since there was no tourist infrastructure there was nothing at all to buy, not even the smallest trinket or t-shirt that was designed for tourists. I'm sure it was all perfectly safe and fine, but after about 30 minutes we looked at each other and made tracks back for the border where we walked across the bridge and re-entered Thailand.
P.S. I was surprised to find that the Burmese language sounds nothing like Thai. It has a wonderfully exotic writing script that looks like lots of looping circles hooked together. For a sample of Burmese writing, see this link: https://pansuriya.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/ukala-avaparabaiq.png
I admire the people who are learning foreign languages, which they almost never hear in their daily life or on holiday.
Because in the Netherlands, the foreign movies, the daily foreign news and interviews are subtitled in Dutch instead of replaced by Dutch voices.
I have been on holiday in:
Belgium, France, England/Scotland/Wales
Germany, Denmark, Switserland, Italy
Romania, Kroatia, Bulgaria
The national parks in the western part of the USA
My favorite foreign country is England/Scotland/Wales.
Because of ....
- the beautiful walks and campsites
- the cosy pubs (there really is a "good pub guide"!)
- the friendly people, who always like to talk to foreigners and tell that our English is much better than their Dutch ;). That's why they are very patient and helpful.
My most shocking experience was:
After a two week's holiday in Bulgaria, I still could not recognize any of the Cyrillic texts on traffic signs and shops. But the people were very nice, patient and helpful.
In Romania I had my most lovely conversation.
We were invited by a family for a drink and a meal. It was in a small village, and no one was able to speak any English, German or French.
Before the existance of "Google translate" I always bought a booklet with "useful sentences in the foreign language to Dutch and reverse", if I went to a foreign country.
For about three hours, we had a lovely conversation and made many jokes by using sentences of that booklet and "hand and foot" language.
I'm just curious, what was the conversation mainly about?
Just imagine what you would able to do, when you cannot speak together in the same language!
----> Body language and using words and sentences from the booklet with touristic sentences in "Romanian to Dutch" and reverse.
- Big smiles and face-hand-stomach expressions about the food and drinks
- Gestures and admiring face expressions about their lovely children, and their beautiful stuff in and outside the house
- laughing about the jokes of the family and the friends of the host
- Dutch soccer and our most famous soccer player, Johan Cruyff
- The dance part of the festival in Domaşnea, that we would go to visit after the meal
(An impression on today's internet:
Last spring a friend and I flew to Barcelona and rented a car and traveled all over Spain, went to Morocco, Gibralter, Portugal, France, Switzerland, and Italy. Most places we were fine with English and a little Spanish, but I wish I had a better grasp of Spanish. Spanish and French would get you through all of the places. In Morocco, French would be best and we struggled a little in that country. Especially when we were stopped at a police road block.
I have never been to Europe. Though, I sort of want to go to Switzerland since I have family from there. ^ ^
And the reason why I want to go to South Korea? One word: Kpop! Just kidding; I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps just for cultural immersion since I have a desire to learn some Korean in the future. Plus, I want to be exposed personally to the culture, language, and lifestyle there (which is basically the same as cultural immersion). The same goes for France, Japan and China (which I forgot to add to the list of countries I want to go to).
They all have good sides and bad sides if i had to choose a country to live in it would probably be Norway or Spain but laos was a lot more interesting it was a very wild and different country.
But it was also poor very hot and it had poisonous bugs from hell so i don't want to stay there for long but i have noticed that the countries in southeast Asia evolve very fast i was there in 2004 and in 2011 the difference was huge in 2004 most people had no electricity and the roads were all mud.
I took my game boy with me and they never saw anything like that but in 2011 a lot of people owned cellphones or computers they where building roads the same person that was amazed by my game boy now had his own pc that was on par with my own pc.
And i have heard that things are even better now but going to those countries was more of a adventure and not really a vacation my dad has been going here since 1989 it was even wilder back then.
I traveled throughout Western Europe once - Germany, Italy, France, and the British Isles - but had not at that time studied any of the languages. Luckily almost everyone, Germans in particular, speaks English over there. But Ireland was the greenest thing I've ever seen, and Florence was lovely. There were also a lot of Asian tourists while I was visiting, so anyone who's learning Asian languages could have a chance to practice them as well.
I've been to Brasil many many times since I am from there and I have family. I definitely have a strong bias, but i absolutely love Brasil. It is far from perfect, I lot of poverty (the infamous favelas), there is a large gap between rich and poor, and a lot of corruption. But it is my home and a place with a rich culture, amazing food, a great climate (the amazon!! I recommend going there if you can, it is amazing), and happy people despite all their struggles. I can't have much of an opinion on Portuguese since it's my mother tongue but I think it's a nice language.
Peru once when I was young. I don't remember too much but it was definitely a unique country. In the more rural areas there were llamas/alpacas, traditional wool clothing, amazing food, strong indigenous culture, and typical south american poverty. They had this really good tea to help cure sickness from the high altitudes and I drank way too much of it. The big cities were very crowded and not too different from other big cities. As for Spanish, I love it.
Germany and Denmark a several years ago. Again it's faded from memory but it was amazing. It was my first (and only) trip to Europe so there was a lot of new culture. So many small cute towns, a lot of agriculture too. I remember driving past field after field of bright yellow plants in bloom. Maybe soy? I'm not sure. Copenhagen had sooooo many bicycles. The whole city was built around them, quite amazing. I remember the skies being very grey though. Berlin-- speechless. Simply superb. So much rich history, especially from the world wars. This one time I remember we were driving to Berlin and we stopped at what was supposed to be a meaningless town for lunch and -- I swear to god -- we turned the corner and there was a full blown castle. It looked straight out of a fantasy novel. It was huge, beautiful garden, golden towers, massive gates. Only Europe to have something like that :) I also loved the German and danish languages, I wish i had used the opportunity to learn german but I wasn't as interested in languages back then. The vast majority of people spoke perfect english so there were really no communication problems.
Most recently I went to Israel. So much history! The museums were superb. Jerusalem was chaotic and sometimes a bit unsafe, but it was SO rich in culture-- layer after layer of culture all in one place. You walk one way there are mosques, the other way, churches, the other synagogues. For religious people, I am sure it would have been a very religiously fulfilling experience. The food!!!! The hummus! The pita! so good! The architecture was also very different-- almost all buildings were made of tan stone with tiny windows. Almost entirely townhouses and apartments, i don't remember seeing houses. The outdoor markets were amazing cultural experiences. The climate was very different from anywhere else i have gone-- dry, hot, dusty, almost no green. Many olive and pomegranate trees. The dead sea was insane-- you actually float. Don't get it in your eyes though, stings like hell. Frankly I didn't love Hebrew. It was very rough on the ears, but to know it is a language brought back from the dead is amazing. The alphabet is cool though.
Well this is a very long post, thanks for reading :p Sorry for any typos
I have been to Vienna, Austria 4 times and it was wonderful to visit my cousins and speaking German with the natives was very rewarding indeed. Also I learned that my German is a bit more "bookish". I guess that comes with learning a language at a university and not out in the wild lol. The cuisine was lovely and the architecture was regal and spectacular. I highly recommend it.
Also I have been to Iran, but I am Persian so I speak Persian natively so it was like going to a family member's house, really lol.
I'm from Portugal and I've been to 6 more countries (Spain, England, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, and Hungary).
I do not speak nor learn Flemish/Dutch, German or Hungarian so let's leave them aside. I do speak Spanish but most of my trips to Spain were when I was a child. The most recent one was a few years ago and I only managed to exchange a few words with a recepcionist who had the audacity to claim my Spanish was at least a "little bit better" than my classmates'. I was pretty offended I must say... As for my trip to England, it was back in 2005 and it was life changing. My English back then was extremely poor and that trip was the definite turning point in my English learning. In Czech's case...well I made a few little efforts but not enough. I could have practiced more last year but instead I spoke Spanish and English way more. I regret it a bit...but at least I got me a boyfriend! :p
I have 2 very different experiences in the Czech Republic. One in 2011 with my family were I tasted great food, was astonished by how beautiful of a city Prague was and is and tought the people were ok. Then I have my second experience...1 full month in Prague, in the Summer for a Czech summer course. I lived in my second favorite city (2nd or 3rd, not sure) and no one can ever take that from me. It was a dream come true, though not everything was perfect. I got to see much more of Prague and other Czech cities so I got to enjoy more marvelous and wonderful architecture and culture. Food was not as good as I remembered but it was ok. Then I got to meet a bunch of people though the majority were foreigners and if the first time I thought they (the Czechs) were ok, so not really rude but not the nicest people in the world, this time I got to meet very very nice and helpful people but also the ruddest people in any of my trips. Even people who had served me in a restaurant 5 years prior, saw me as a nuisance when I dinned there in 2016. In a public bathroom where the cleaning ladies were hidden, completely out of sight, I walked in with a classmate going straight to the toilets just to be yelled at like we were dogs (this example comes from an idiomatic expression, I love my dog and I believe all dogs should be treated with respect). The simple task of getting a plastic bag to buy a few groceries, was a bad one to me. She just threw me the bag like I was bothering her...she didn't even look at me, like..."what is your problem?". Maybe just maybe if I had gathered the courage to talk to them in Czech...it would have been a different story. At the end of the day, I would recommend everyone to visit the Czech Republic at least once. I intend to go back and visit a few more cities and get a chance to visit the countryside.
I've been to 6 countries. My favorite was Peru since it was my first time truly abroad. Most places in Mexico and Canada I've been to is within an hour drive from the border.
USA: 41 states - Live in Los Angeles
Canada: 3 provinces
Mexico - Baja California
Peru - Lima
France - Paris
UK - London - Oxford - Stonehenge
I've visited 14 states in the US, mainly in the South, and have lived in 2 different states.
And...that's it. I've never been outside of my country (I don't even have a passport).
The list of countries that I want to visit is very long, but Germany, UK, France, and Japan are on the top of my list.
Urg, I can't stand not having a passport, actually, I don't even have a social security number. It's going to make it hard to do what I want to do. I've been all over southern America, but I'v never left, and I really want to go to some places like Ireland, or Scotland.