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Learn a language to deepen your travel experience.

Date added: Thursday 15th October 2015

Does trying to learn a language seem like a daunting challenge? Classroom experiences of chanting verb endings may well have crushed any desire of becoming multi-lingual, but with so many benefits and many fun ways to learn, maybe itís time to reconsider.

Learning a language takes time, dedication and practice. It could involved you rolling your Ďrís or feeling self conscious as native speakers consider your attempt to engage them in conversation. Itís enough to put anyone off!

But now imagine sitting in a foreign bar ordering your beer (or cocktail) in another language as your friends look impressed and perhaps a little envious. We all love to amaze once in a while, don't we?

Aside from gaining respect from both your friends and locals, languages can open doors and give you new insights when you are abroad. At Oyster, we love to get off the beaten track when we travel. Anne, Oysterís animal welfare expert, is heading to Cuba in two weeks and is using her Spanish to organise accommodation in remote locations. Without Spanish, there is no way she could do this but even if you are just travelling for pleasure, being able to speak with locals means you can learn about a country from the people who know it best. You can also develop friendships and enrich your adventure by moving beyond the usual tourist spots.

Regardless of the science behind language learning (some argue that learning languages makes you smarter), there is no denying that learning a language is challenging. If you are the kind of person who is excited by a challenge, languages are the equivalent of a cognitive marathon - hard work, but a massive achievement.

Learning languages also increases your employability. With trade being a global enterprise, companies are desperate for multilingual employees to help establish business links abroad. Language benefits people looking to work in politics, business, medicine and translation. Itís surprising how often languages are required.

If you are interested in learning a language then you could still take a GCSE or A level, go to nightschool, join a language learning group, hire a tutor, or use online learning programmes, apps and cd's. You'll always be appreciated for trying and you might just be a natural. It will open doors to new experiences (why not join an Oyster programme to get some in-country practice?), employment and friendships.

Hasta la vista!