People travel in the different parts of Asia either to take a vacation, to work or to pursue their tertiary education. Tourists traveling to Asia each year are in the millions. Japan welcomed 8.3 million foreign visitors in 2008, China had nearly 56 million in 2010, Malaysia had 24.70 million in 2011, Thailand had 19.10 million in 2011 while South Korea received 6.4 million visitors in 2007.
For foreign professionals, Singapore and Hong Kong in China are the top destinations particularly for those seeking overseas working experience.
For foreign students, East Asia and the Pacific have the most number of international students accounting for 28 percent of the world’s total. Data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) also showed that the rate of internationally mobile students has grown by 78 percent in a period of 10 years.
Whatever type of traveler you are, learning the local language is one of the best ways to gain knowledge about the culture and history of your destination. Communicating with the locals in their dialect is key to having an enriching experience in any place you’re visiting. It’s very different from just touring the place or working and studying there without any interaction with the residents.
If you desire to learn an Asian language, it’s best to do it in advance even before you go on your trip. This way, you are better prepared and ready to interact with the locals.
Normally, foreign students and professionals are provided with free language training shouldered by their schools or employers and agencies. For tourists on a leisure trip, however, you can either do it on your own or enroll in a short language course in your preferred Asian language.
Asian countries wherein most citizens don’t speak much English include Japan, Thailand and China. As such, tourists will have to learn the basic greetings and words in those countries for easy communication. Instead of just doing the sign language every time, a little knowledge of the local dialect can go a long way in letting you enjoy your stay in the country.
The Japanese, Thai and Chinese languages are tonal hence learners will have to practice being able to speak the right words in the right accent. The process may be difficult at first but once you get the hang of it and you’re persistent to learn it right, you’ll eventually succeed. Your patience and eagerness will see you through in learning your chosen Asian language.
About the guest author:
Ben enjoys learning a new language whenever he travels. His next goal is to learn Thai before he sets off for his long-planned holiday.