The Thoughtful Travel Podcast: Episode 10: How to Cope in Another Language

Figuring out how to communicate in a language you just don’t speak can be both stressful and hilarious when we travel. Personally I usually find it hilarious, but there are certainly some times when it can feel frustrating or difficult. And that’s why I wanted to talk about some of the different ways we can cope in a foreign language, just to make sure it’s not a barrier for anyone wanting to travel somewhere new.

Show Notes for Episode 10 – How to Cope in Another Language

I’m always a bit sad if I hear someone say they didn’t want to travel somewhere because they were worried about not being able to get by in a foreign language. Struggling to communicate can be half the fun of a trip (at least in retrospect!) and we can learn so much from cultures with different languages and customs.

In this episode I’ve gathered together some tips and tricks from a number of travellers who have experience both in learning languages and in getting by in languages they don’t know. I start off with the highly multilingual Leyla Giray Alyanak, who imparted one of the most useful ever language tips I’ve heard, and then move onto another clever linguist, Kerstin Pilz, who reminds us that it’s not just the words in another country but the more subtle cultural differences too which are important for good communication.

Finally, I chat with David Soto Jr., a very interesting man who’s currently living in a van with his dog and travelling around North America. He recalls one of his first experiences in trying to speak Italian and hits upon a fun trick that can really help us loosen up and do better at coping in another language!


The Thoughtful Travel Podcast Episode 10 - How to Cope in Another Language


  1. Love your Thoughtful Travel podcast series. You are such a pro and your guests are always interesting. Very honoured to have featured in this one and I thought it was very funny that David Soto Jr related an episode from his life in a small town near Rimini in Italy, which is precisely where I learned my Italian, much the way he describes it, by being thrown into the deep end and as he says, put a glass of vino with that and suddenly your are fluent in any language :)! Thanks for bringing us so many interesting stories each week!

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment Kerstin! And for your great insights in this episode. So funny that Dave’s trip took him to the same place as you. And with some vino to help as well!

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