If you want to really immerse yourself in a country then you really need to make an effort to learn the local language.
Whilst we were travelling around South America early last year Ben and I made a decisive effort to communicate to local people in Spanish rather than English.
This normally resulted in one of us attempting to speak to someone in Spanish, for example asking for a bus ticket, which was followed by either one of two things:
1. A frowning or blank expression from the other person and then multiple attempts by Ben and I to say the phase in different tones and accents – pretty hilarious to someone who can actually speak Spanish I am sure.
2. The other person answering in Spanish, really quickly and using the most complicated phrases possible because they think we can speak Spanish.
Nevertheless we battled away and kept practicing our Spanish with local people, and even with each other, randomly asking ‘do you have a double room?’ and ‘how much is that?’
We travelled with a google nexus 7 tablet which we bought in the airport on our flight out, and which proved extremely useful for Spanish language apps.
My top apps for learning spanish are:
1. Duolingo – good for practicing general phases and learning pronunciation
2. Spanish Builder – this app allows you to type a sentence and will translate it into Spanish
3.Learn Spanish phrasebook – useful for learning common phrases
Also my number 1 tip is that practice makes perfect. Don’t be scared to speak to someone in the local language, although you might mess up a number of times, it will at least mean you’ll have a laugh and they may show you the correct way to say the phrase.