Mingling with locals of foreign countries can be a richly rewarding experience because it provides you with the opportunity to see their country through their eyes.
Someone once said that “A stranger is a friend whose acquaintance you haven’t made yet” and this certainly applies when it comes to mingling with the local residents of different countries overseas. In most instances, we have found that most locals are not only gracious hosts where foreign visitors are concerned, they also want you to experience the reasons they feel their country is the best place to visit on vacation. Consequently, many will offer advice, make suggestions, or invite you to the local pub to have a few drinks and meet their friends.
First Do Some Research
Long before you depart for your destination, it pays to do a little research about the local culture. Mingling with locals of foreign countries can be a richly rewarding experience because it provides you with the opportunity to see their country through their eyes. Even the most informative and picturesque brochure that a travel agent gives you still can’t provide you with that type of experience. However, for many travelers, approaching strangers in a foreign country can be extremely intimidating.
Communication is the Key
You can’t mingle if you are unable to communicate. So you should learn some of the more universal words spoken in the language of the locals at your destination. This includes words such as:
- “hello” and “goodbye”
- “please” and “thank you”
- “yes” and “no”
You should also know how to ask a person their name, ask for directions, and ask if taking a photo of someone or something is permissible. You need to understand how similar sounding words can have extremely different meanings or how being polite and telling someone “thank you” could be highly offensive in different countries.
Tips for Mingling with the Locals
Meeting locals in foreign countries is not that difficult if you have done your homework. So here are 5 tips that will enable you to do so seamlessly and smoothly:
- Do some hitchhiking once in a while instead of relying on public transportation or vehicle rentals all the time
- Find English speaking locals by hanging out at one of the local colleges or universities
- Have dinner with one of the local’s families
- If you feel comfortable enough, spend the night at a local’s home if invited to do so (especially when you have partied too much)
- Learn as much of your destination country’s language as you can
Additionally, you can join a couch-surfer group that has local hosts. That is another great way of meeting locals and enjoying the culture of the city. When you are travelling alone or are on a budget, staying at hostels is a good way of enjoying nightly events. This is a good way of meeting new people when you travel, especially locals. These are usually visited by backpackers while the backpacker bars are in vogue. In addition to the above, the internet is filled with additional information regarding meeting locals, when traveling abroad.