Why Learning a Language is the Ticket to Your Next Flight

While most travelers invest in a trusty luggage or a badass camera, there are those intangibles that are often overlooked. Learning a language, in particular, is a good practice for travelers. It may be as simple as knowing how to say “hello” in a foreign language or as leveled up as getting into a career in languages for more financial stability.

Here's my take on the advantages of knowing a language for travelers:

It sets a deeper connection with locals

An interesting ride with locals in Bagan, Myanmar while learning a few Burmese words
Trying to speak the language of the country you're traveling to, like knowing the basic words and phrases, may help you a lot. Not only it saves you from getting lost around unfamiliar foreign street signs, but it also lets you communicate with the people easily.

While English is a universal language, there are countries where it's not widely spoken. And even if English is spoken in big cities, there'll always be those remote places that have less to none people speaking English.
Adventures with a local in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Also, the locals appreciate travelers who at least try learning their language. It  helps you immerse into their culture faster.

By knowing the language of the country you're visiting, you don't just become a tourist. You aren't treated like a foreigner either. It makes you one of them, that which makes traveling even more worth it.

Earn beyond the basic pay

Corporate wise, learning a language pays a lot. Did you know that a regular employee who knows a language other than the native tongue and English may receive a higher salary? Depending on the company, qualifications, and demand, bilinguals get that extra column in the pay slip for the language premium, an incentive given on top of the basic pay. Since being fluent in a foreign language isn't like an overnight skill that one can earn right away, companies are seriously on a hunt for language experts.
Language skill is an asset in the corporate world
In the Philippines, for example, there has been a fast-growing demand for bilinguals in industries like Business Process Outsourcing and Information Technology where one can earn $1200 (or higher) a month.
"Viajar es la única cosa por la que pagas que te hace más rico"
("Traveling is the only thing you pay for that makes you richer")
This is why working as a bilingual may help save up for travels without sacrificing the monthly obligations for utilities and other bills. Come to think of this: it's a lot easier to plan travels with an extra money on hand than to be indebted to a credit card.

Chances to be assigned abroad

Reading German while waiting for the delayed flight
In connection with the previously mentioned, knowing languages may serve as your passport to be sent abroad by the company. In the Philippine setup, there seems to be a tough competition in the field of English proficiency. Many people can speak English in the Philippines already. But if you're proficient in both Japanese and English, for example, you set the difference and cuts you above the rest.

Bilinguals are usually sent abroad to work as interpreters or attend events in a foreign language.  It's such a unique skill that you're treated as an asset in the business. Companies are willing to spend money on you: pay for your plane tickets, accommodations, food, allowance, and other expenses while assigned abroad.

With your language expertise, you can travel and explore a foreign country for free.

An edge in online jobs

Time management is a key
If you know how to manage your time wisely, you can even get a part-time job using a foreign language to earn more cash. Websites like Upwork and Proz offer language-related freelance work such as translation, proofreading, interpretation, and teaching.

A language job done online is definitely a good source of income for travelers since it can be done remotely. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and your precious knowledge of a foreign language. In fact, I know some travelers who have considered online jobs as their primary source of funds and they only work online while traveling.

Bilinguals are usually paid by the hour or by the number of words. Also, the higher your language credentials are, the better you get paid online. Earnings aren’t bad. One can earn at least $300 per project (note: monthly online earnings vary).

It molds a good attitude in traveling

Occasionally, I attend language exchange events via Couchsurfing to practice the languages that I know
Whatever attitude you gain while learning a language, you carry it out when you go on with your travels.

For one, it builds a lot of patience in you. Like any other skill, language takes time to learn. It requires patience in such a way that you have to read, listen, and speak A LOT. You have to go through a lot of mistakes, then patiently accept and learn from them. 
Patience is a virtue. Reading is a virtue.

I have learned to be patient with traveling: Patience to score some cheap flights, patience during delayed flights, and patience for the next opportunity to fly.
Despite all, everything pays off. So it's time to plan your linguistic goals and learn a new language today! 


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