Category: Travel Tips

Oct
17

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Tips to Overcoming Language Barriers while Traveling

Posted by on October 17, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

It happens pretty often – people who do not speak foreign languages avoid traveling to non-English speaking countries, or they think the language barriers aren’t worth overcoming for a one or two week vacation. Whatever the reasoning for this trend, the truth is that if you want to immerse yourself in new cultures, nothing should stop you. If you organize your trip in the right way, you will face no difficulties caused by the language barrier.

Let’s consider seven travel tips on how to overcome language barriers and get the most of your trip.

Learn Basic Words and Popular Phrases in Advance

If you have started to plan your trip in advance, that’s great! You still have time to learn some essential words that will help you to overcome the language barrier.

Remember that there is no magic method that can help you to learn a foreign language in a month, so you shouldn’t try to memorize dozens of grammar rules and hundreds of new words in a few weeks. Simply choose 100 the most widely used words and focus on those. Start your language learning journey from memorizing how to say “Hi”, “Thank you”, and “My name is Johan” (you will use these words more often than other words, so make sure that you pronounce them correctly). After that, you should learn a few basic verbs such as eat, drink, buy, want, sleep, go, and nouns such as water, food, price, hotel, hospital.

When traveling with Discover Corps, we provide you with a few basic phrases to get you started in your Pre-Departure Booklet. Above is a sample of how this works.

Use Translation Apps

Fortunately, we live in a digital age, and we can use new technologies to deal with language barriers. Another option is to get prepared for conversations with locals a week before you travel through a translation app. Write down a few of the phrases you think you may need to know, translate them using an app, and have them ready to go on your phone. Short translated notes like this one will save you lots of time and will let you enjoy your trip to the foreign country.

Here is a list of mobile apps that you can use to facilitate communication with locals.

  • Google Translate. This app works online and offline, and it allows translating text from photos. For instance, you can snap a picture of the menu at the restaurant, and the app will translate the text for you.
  • TripLingo. This mobile app allows you to translate your voice instantly, so if you want to sound like a local, don’t hesitate to try this app.
  • The Word Point. If traveling for work and you want to get assistance from professional translators, use this online service.

Below is a screenshot of what Google Translate looks like:

Take a Phrasebook or Pocket Dictionary with You

So let’s face it – when it comes to exotic destinations, you can’t always rely on digital technologies. We know there is no Wi-Fi in Costa Rican rainforests, and there is no electricity in small African villages, so in some cases, your phone and translation apps might be just useless.

For this reason, you should buy a phrasebook or a pocket dictionary and bring it everywhere with you. A tiny book in your backpack will add to your self-confidence and help out in a difficult situation.

Lean on an English-Speaking Guide

On many group trips, including Discover Corps trips, you will have a local guide there to support you who will speak both English and the native language. He/she can help you with translation and teach you a few things along the way if you get really stuck (but use this as your backup whenever possible!).

Our guide Karla has been guiding for 25 years in her native country of Costa Rica. Meet her on the Costa Rica: Wildlife Safari trip.

The Takeaway

Remember that you don’t have to be fluent in foreign languages to travel the world, and in fact locals love to see travelers making an effort to speak their native language – even if you don’t know many phrases! You will be welcomed and usually learn a thing or two along the way to truly enjoy your trips to the fullest.

Erica Sunarjo is a professional writer, translator, and editor with a Master’s degree in Marketing and social media. She writes thought- provoking articles for publications in a variety of media and is an active member of the translator community.

Jun
10

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Peru: Children of the Andes | Adrienne’s Interview

Posted by on June 10, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

Discover Corps’ Travel Operations Assistant, Adrienne, has the important role of preparing travelers for both the pre-departure process AND in-country adventures upon their arrival. So needless to say, she really knows our trips inside and out. To stay on top of her game though, Adrienne puts in the work! This includes going on-location to walk in the footsteps of Discover Corps’ travelers. Most recently, she visited our Peru: Children of the Andes vacation, and sat down to discuss the unique experience in the video below:

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May
29

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Ask the Alumni: Peru through the Eyes of a Discover Corps’ Traveler

Posted by on May 29, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

Sometimes in travel, as in life, it is better to know what you don’t want from your experience than what you do desire. This was certainly the case for Kai, on her recent Peru: Children of the Andes trip. A seasoned traveler, Kai had chosen to travel by herself in the past but learned it was not for her.

“Previously, I have had the experience of being a solo traveler… planning the trip alone, traveling by myself the entire trip. I learned that I don’t like that! I need someone else to arrange details, introduce me to the culture and local people and customs and places, and other travelers to share experiences with.”

This awareness made her Peru volunteer vacation with Discover Crops a perfect match, as Kai details below:

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May
17

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Interview from Peru: Discover Corps’ Guide Miguel

Posted by on May 17, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

The name of our Peru trip, Children of the Andes, gives a great indication of what you can expect on your vacation with purpose to this special part of South America. You will spend quality time teaching, learning from, and connecting with children that each have a unique story to share. This time is precious and much needed for all involved, but it’s hardly the only aspect of this dynamic experience. Discover Corps’ guide for Peru, Miguel, agrees:

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May
3

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Ask the Alumni: Tanzania through the Eyes of a Discover Corps Family [Q&A and VIDEO]

Posted by on May 3, 2019 · 2 Comments  

Tanzania is a game changer, or more aptly put, a perspective changer. Cosette and Brian DeCesare and their three daughters Genevieve, Theresa, and Maria are evidence of this phenomenon after their recent Tanzania Safari & Service family vacation with Discover Corps. Cosette put it best, “I was in awe of the happiness and disposition of the people. Especially the children. This was not so much a surprise but an observation. These people know struggle. But they have a level of apparent joy and contentment that would make a lot of Americans blush with envy.”

To elaborate on their family’s time in Africa, Cosette and 16-year-old Theresa kindly agreed to share a few thoughts below on what they called an experience of a lifetime. Their words are complemented by a video recap (after the Q&A) of the trip, creatively made by Theresa.

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May
2

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The Havana Jazz Festival – An Incomparable Celebration

Posted by on May 2, 2019 · 1 Comment  

Jazz and Cuba are as interwoven as any genre of music and country can possibly be. The centuries-old form of creative expression is forever linked to the soul of this nation. For jazz fans and aficionados, no better time exists to experience this intoxicating art form than the Havana Jazz Festival, happening January of 2020. This month will mark a weighty milestone in the history of the festival as it celebrates its 35th year.

If prior occasions are any indication, the festivities are sure to be filled with the same energy and excitement that jazz regularly releases on Cuban airwaves. Allow us to take you inside the happenings of this incomparable celebration to discover what makes the event such a sublime experience and why you simply must be there:

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Apr
18

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Interview from Cuba: Discover Corps’ Guide Orelvis

Posted by on April 18, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

The passion of Discover Corps’ guide, Orelvis, is clear from the moment you first meet him. His enthusiasm for his country and showing you his country is infectious. As you explore Havana and the surrounding region “Elvis” provides colorful commentary that only deepens your experience. It’s no wonder, that many travelers can’t help but form a strong bond with their insightful guide.

“I remember one time, some [travelers] came back again [to Cuba] through Discover Corps with us, and I remember waiting in the airport. When they saw me and I saw them it was like seeing family. That was a unique emotion and feeling.” – Orelvis

So what better person, to share in his own words, what a trip with Discover Corps like Cuba: Preserving Nature’s Wonders is really like. Take it away Elvis!

Apr
11

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Ask the Alumni: Cuba through the Words of a Discover Corps’ Traveler

Posted by on April 11, 2019 · Leave a Comment  

This Traveler Plans to Return

For Discover Corps traveler, Barbara, her Cuba travel experience was so powerful she is already planning a return trip one year from now. During her adventure, she explored the country, felt the warmth of the Cuban people, and witnessed a moving reunion, years in the making. Barbara provides all the details below of her Cuba: Celebration of Arts & Culture vacation:

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