What would you do if you were forced to go to a country that didn't speak your language?
What would you really do if you were forced to go to a country that don't speak your language?
I'm interested to hear your opinion.
After two voluntary travels to Germany, my appreciation of the efforts of non-English-speaking people in the USA to effectively communicate has increased tremendously!
Alone in Nuremberg for three days, at one point, I tried to locate a particular bus stop outside the train station. After over half an hour of trying to find out where I needed to be, and receiving only shrugs or people simply turning away because my German was so poor - I gave up on going where I wanted to go. (NOTE: usually people were very willing to try to communicate with me, but this one experience made me feel unbelievably helpless.)
Some people could handle language learning fairly easily if forced to emigrate; but others like me would really struggle, especially if resources such as interpreters or second-language courses weren't available. It's no wonder that immigrants often form their own communities, where they can comfortably speak in their own language and share their culture and beliefs. I would desperately need that as a refuge, myself.
Hopefully, I would have the resources (Money, time, energy, ability (health and other considerations), and access to technology) to learn the language. Otherwise, I would try to find the local immigrant community with people who speak my language(s) and share my culture.
If it's a matter of being "forced" however, I would be less likely to have the resources I needed to learn the language. Otherwise, I would have picked a country where my language was more common. Possibly over time I could gain those resources. However, if I was subjected to discrimination and prejudice, I would be hard pressed to come by those resources even later. I would be afraid to find native speakers to practice with. My pool would likely be limited to native speakers who are in poverty any how and they might not have the time or energy even if they were willing.
If you really have no choice but to go to a country where your language isn't spoken, then you should try to learn the language. If you don't learn the language, you might feel isolated, since you might not be able to understand most of what is being spoken and you might have some difficulty making friends. In addition, learning at school could be very challenging. You can change your perspective and look at the situation as an opportunity to learn a new culture, make new friends and most of all you'll learn another language. You're in the best place to learn a new language...Duolingo of course! :)
I guess this question also depends on how long one intends on staying in a country. If it's only for a week or two, there is no way you can learn the language, except for a few phrases or words. So, gestures and translators would certainly be good. However, if the op meant living in a country for the rest of one's life, then I suppose more would have to be achieved than gestures. Though, I really agree with you.
My mother has done business in China and she never really had to learn the language. She could simply use gestures to make her way around. Also, she had a Chinese friend to help her from time to time, so that's always nice.
Years ago (1992-1993), when I was enlisted in the U.S. Army I was sent to Germany. I would say I was forced to go, and stay for two years. I learned the language as much as possible so that I could meet the people, and PARTY!! There were the losers that never learned the language; And guess what? They did ZERO partying...
I would definitely try to learn the language.
In the big european cities, it is not very difficult to find somebody speaking english and willing to help. But try that in the countryside !
That reminds me of the story of a very clever friend :
He could only speak french, almost no english beside "hello" and "thank you" but wanted to cross the USA. Good luck with that !
Once landed in NYC, he bought a big piece of cupboard, a big black marker and wrote : Je suis français, si vous parlez français, venez me dire bonjour" (I am French, if you speak French come to me to say hello). He wore the piece of cupboard like a sandwich man and got out to visit the city.
In no time he met tens of people and had a great time ! Very clever isn't it ?
Well, I would try my best to learn the language. If it's really too difficult, I would find an English speaker. Every country has to have one. If I really can't do anything else, I'd pretend I understood, and try to do stuff without talking. Eventually, you'd get adapted to living there. (Or, I'd just get out of the country as quickly as I could.)
Sit in a corner and cry for eternity.
No, like what everyone else says, I would take the effort to learn the language. Though, if I was forced to go to a Spanish speaking country, I probably would cry due to my extreme disinterest in Spanish. Then, I would just force myself to learn the language.
(No one will do you any harm, you will always be excused for having language deficits, and after a while of wild gesturing you will notice that your brain must have caught up somehow. You will eventually arrive back home with a huge smile at those efforts of in-class-only learners. Plus, you will have made foreign friends. As long as expectation in your language acquisition is low, you can only win).
As someone who moved to another country, Canada, when I was very young and didn’t have much choice in the matter the challenge for me was not learning the new language, but in maintaining my mother tongue. I was four years old when my parents decided to move to Canada, my opinion was not exactly consulted. I was already speaking fully in Hungarian, so I do remember learning English in preschool, having to learn the names of colours, feeling shy amongst new people, however I learned English very quickly and almost by osmosis. Now English is the language I think, read, write in. For me the challenge has not been learning English but maintaining my mother tongue. My parents actively made an effort to speak Hungarian at home so I haven’t lost it completely, yet, but it is still a challenge.. and I often slip back into speaking English when a word or expressions doesn’t come to mind. I have to make an active effort not to lose my Hungarian.
I have lived in non-English speaking countries. If you are lucky, you find English speaking people. If you are not lucky, you don't, and you have to learn the language as quickly as you can. Nowadays, we have smartphones with translation apps. Before that, I would always carry a dictionary and a pen and paper. If body language doesn't work, you can try drawing pictures. If that doesn't work, you use the dictionary. It's important not to get impatient and angry. People are always helpful if you smile and speak politely, even if they don't understand you. Remember not to shout. For some reason, there are people who speak extra loudly to a person who doesn't speak their language. It's really annoying.
If it was for a short period of time, if I had a wifi or data connection I would see if I could download a free phrasebook to my phone, and then search for how to say any other phrases I might need. If I had none of those I would see if a local library would let me photocopy parts of a phrasebook, or see if a bookstore would let me buy one, if I had a decent amount of money with me.
If it was for a long time I'd learn the language.