SEATTLE, Nov. 27, 2019 /CNW/ -- Among travellers, there are a few prevailing philosophies. Some only travel to places where they speak the language; some travel anywhere, regardless of language, and others learn the basics once they've chosen a destination. There's no right or wrong approach. Are locals at the destination able to speak the traveller's language? Is the traveller staying in touristy areas, or in isolated regions? Concerning South America, learning Spanish is highly recommended. Here are a few reasons why, according to FlightHub and JustFly.
1. Bang for buck:
It's hard to justify learning a language if one will only be visiting a country for a short time, but as far as sheer efficiency goes, Spanish is hard to beat. Spanish gives travellers access to almost half of South America, much of Central America, the Caribbean, and obviously some of Europe too. All in all, Spanish is the official language of twenty countries! So, once the South America trip is over with, there are still plenty of good opportunities to make use of one's acquired skills in Español (not to mention that going for a repeat visit is always an option).
2. It's not such a stretch for English speakers:
If one's native tongue is English (or, better yet, one of the other Romance languages) then Spanish is just a step or two away. Many English words are derived from Latin, so their Spanish equivalents will tend to be similar, if not downright identical. In North America, many English secondary curriculums require students to take at least one Spanish class, so one might already have some of the basics down, even if it's been a while since high school. Even if they didn't take Spanish at any point, a knowledge of French can be a really great head start.
3. It's safer:
Not speaking a local language can mean ignorance at best, and outright danger at worst. South America has its fair share of unique foods, cultural practices, and environmental hazards, all of which are much easier to understand if one can ask a local "What is this dish made of?" or "Am I allowed to take pictures?" There are also plenty of scammers, grifters, and opportunists who will see a tourist as a chance to make a quick buck. Responding to one such individual in their own language can often signal that the traveller isn't a great target, and that the scammer should move on. Even if they don't, the traveller is able to ask questions and think critically about the situation. Basically, knowing the language means one isn't helpless.
4. It's authentic:
Why travel to a place if one isn't able to experience the local culture? Whether it's local markets, small restaurants, or people on the street, all become exponentially more accessible with a grasp of the Spanish language, and certainly means a better trip.
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Traveling to South America
Couple walking down the street in Brazil