While studying abroad, I’ve been traveling all over the European Union. Catching a train or a flight has become second nature to me. But when I booked a flight to Paris, I was really nervous. This was my first time traveling to a country where I didn’t speak the native language. Thankfully I studied French in high school and for one semester at Hope, but I was by no means fluent. However, I got along just fine. More than fine, actually! While in Paris, I was stopped five or six times by French people, and I was able to help a few find their way in the city. Here are a few tips for traveling to a country that doesn’t speak English.

  1. Know how to ask if someone speaks English. And be able to tell someone that you don’t speak their language.
  2. Know how to order food. On my last day in Paris, I ordered a whole meal in French, and only had to use English a few times!
  3. In major cities, many of the museums will have student discounts or discounts for people under 25. Be able to say that you are a student or your age. Also know what people will say when they need to see your ID. It may also be necessary to have proof that you are studying in the EU or in your host country in order to access these discounts
  4. And obviously, know how to say please and thank you. Make your momma proud!
  5. And last, but not least, know how to say excuse me. This will help you get someone’s attention, tell someone to move, or serve as an apology if you mess up a phrase.

Use these five tips and you’ll be set to go anywhere in the world!

Published by Kathryn Joachim

Class of 2020 IES Abroad London, United Kingdom Theatre, Creative Writing

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