Language for lockdown: a travel blogger collaboration

As lockdown comes to an end (for how long, who knows), I thought it would be the perfect time to come together with other bloggers to see what we have been achieving in this time. This post marks my first collaboration on Megbeth Travels, and one that you will hopefully find interesting and inspiring! In this post we’ll have bloggers advocating for Italian, French, Spanish, Filipino and Arabic, but there is even more coming in my Part Two. This is a longer post, so look out for the flags on each blogger’s image. If you’re particularly interested in Italian, make sure you read to the end of the post to get my free downloadable file Italian Dining for Beginners!


Jess Rigg at jessrigg.com

Jess is from the North of England and writes a blog about sustainability with a focus on responsible travel, low-waste living & ethical fashion.

How many languages do you know and how fluent are you?

I studied French for over 8 years, including up to A-level. I have also been learning Italian during my year abroad in Genoa and can understand much more than I can speak! 

How easy was it to learn those languages, and what resources did you use?

I found learning Italian much easier than French since I was living there (with an Italian family) and was truly immersed in the language and culture. I took a free government class which was twice a week for 2 hours, alongside watching Italian shows, speaking with my Italian family and using Quizlet to learn vocabulary. Learning French was harder as it was during high school and I had lots of other things to learn too! I found using apps (Memrise, Duolingo, Quizlet) for vocabulary and languagesonline.org.uk for grammar really useful. Also watching movies, TV shows & reading simple books in the target language with English subtitles helps for both cultural immersion and learning new vocab. It’s a great way to learn slang/more casual language too!

What made you choose to learn French & Italian over other languages?

I love visiting both France and Italy and found them fun languages to learn! I managed to pick up common words and understand a lot of what was being said quite quickly, especially since I already had the base of French which has lots of near-cognates with Italian. French was easiest for me because I can’t roll my Rs. I’m slowly getting there with the Italian… not sure if i’m mimicking the sounds or have taught myself how to do it!

Have you managed to put it into practice with a local – and how was that experience?

Since I lived in Italy, I practised almost everyday. I found it difficult at first but the more I forced myself to speak, the more confident I got. When I’ve visited Paris and Nice by myself, most people assumed I was French and so I managed to get more practise in there (When I’ve visited France in a group, people just assume I spoke English). It’s very nerve wracking but people generally try to help you, they’ll appreciate your effort!

What is your favourite line?

My favourite word in Italian is ‘boh’. I love saying it and it’s just a much more fun way of saying I don’t know. 

Do you think that French or Italian will be beneficial to you in the long-term?

I hope so. I’ll be studying the History of Art at university from September so I think both French and Italian will come in handy. I’d love to work abroad in the future again too. 

Would you consider learning another language?

100%! A goal of mine is to be able to have a basic conversation in 5 languages. So far I have English, French & Italian. I’m not sure which language I want to tackle next, but I’d like to learn something a bit different, like Swedish. 


Edward at This Is My Edventure

Ed is a travel blogger from the Philippines with a sub-focus on lifestyle. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism Management.

How many languages do you know and how fluent are you?

I am fluent in 2 languages: English and Filipino. I know at least conversational Arabic and can recognize Spanish.

How easy was it to learn, and what resources did you use?

Arabic was hard for me to learn. I am living in Kuwait, a Middle Eastern country, which gave me the opportunity to learn the language through conversation. I’ve been working in the hospitality industry that’s why I can practice it. I think it is easier than to read the books. Since the Philippines was a colony of Spain, we still use some Spanish words which were adapted to Filipino. So it is a bit easier for me to learn this language but I hope I can perfect it. I am using the Duolingo app to practice it since I barely know anyone who speaks Spanish.

How long did it take to learn and how often do you practice?

It took me a year to learn Arabic since I used it daily at work. But up until now I’ve had a hard time because they have different Arabic dialect and the alphabet was different. Regarding my Spanish, I need consistency. I’ve been learning for a couple of years, but maybe If I have a consistent conversation with a Spanish speaker I will learn even quicker.

What made you choose to learn Arabic & Spanish over other languages?

To survive in Kuwait is why I need to learn Arabic. And Spanish sounds fun.

What is your favourite line/sentence, or the one that always sticks in your head?

“Kullu tamam” – the Arabic phrase meaning “all is well”. It is the first Arabic phrase I learnt because everyone will ask you “Kullu tamam?” like is everything okay? So that phrase really stuck in my head. In Spanish my favorite phrase is “Como Esta”. In Filipino we say “Kamusta” which has the same meaning – how are you?

Do you think Arabic & Spanish will be beneficial to you in the long-term?

Yes. Whenever I am traveling to an Arabic-speaking nation it would be easier. And Spanish is one of the most spoken language in the world so I think I got good choices!

Would you consider learning another language?

Oh yes, French or Italian and Chinese. Most spoken languages in the world.


Matt at Matt’s Next Steps

Matt blogs about travelling, protecting and enjoying the Earth. He describes himself as “a regular Londoner” with a passion for exploring new places!

Matt’s Next Steps in Malaga!

How many languages do you know and how fluent are you?

I’m fluent in English and have “un poquito” Spanish (a little).

How easy was it to learn Spanish, and what resources did you use?

I found it pretty tough. I learnt Spanish at school for 5 years but was too naïve to actually practice so I forgot it all! Then when I was old enough to realise I wanted to speak a language it was too late. A few months ago I cracked out all my old school books; joined Duolingo; and contacted everyone I met on my most recent trip who spoke Spanish and practiced with them. I’m still nowhere near fluent but I can communicate if people speak slowly now.

How long has it taken to learn Spanish?

I have an app on my phone for Duolingo. I try to practice at least 3 times a week at least for a little while. I don’t set myself a time-frame as I like to remain flexible, but I will stop when I’ve learnt at least one thing properly.

What made you choose to learn Spanish over other languages?

I studied it at school originally, so I had a bit of a head start. Plus, Spanish is spoken all over South America and that’s where I am planning to go next!

Have you managed to put it into practice with a local – and how was that experience?

Several years ago (while I was learning originally) I was lucky to meet a Spanish lady who taught English in a hotel I was staying in with my family. My parents pressured me to speak with her and it was difficult as I was restricted to things just learnt in school rather than conversational stuff. I think it put me off as, at that age, I didn’t realise that you have to do things wrong before you can improve so I just gave up. More recently, I visited Spain and spoke in short sentences, but no more prolonged conversations.

What is your favourite line/sentence, or the one that always sticks in your head?

“Me gustaria un sacapuntas” (I’d like a pencil sharpener).

Do you think that Spanish will be beneficial to you in the long-term?

Spanish would be very useful in the long term so long as I have the opportunity to continue using it. The phrase “me gustaria un sacapuntas” probably won’t be quite so useful…

Would you consider learning another language?

I would, but only once I’ve mastered Spanish (so probably not for a while)!


Meaghan at Megbeth Travels (me!)

If you’re new here, I’m a travel blogger from the East Midlands of England who loves to travel Europe with my partner! I advocate for new experiences and new skills.

How many languages do you know and how fluent are you?

In school I learnt a bit of German, which I was good at but never really enjoyed it. Then I discovered Italy. I had a dream to move there and became 50% fluent!

How easy was it to learn Italian, and what resources did you use?

I’d say that learning conversational Italian could be very easy if you have a knack for languages! But when I hit the 50% fluency mark I definitely was struggling. I’ve used Duolingo the whole time, and I once tried to read Harry Potter in Italian. I used to work with an Italian lady who offered to help me learn but we sadly fell out of touch!

How often do you practice?

It took me a few years to pick Italian up again – things got in the way like new jobs and University. But now I’m learning again and I’d say I probably practice every few days. My boyfriend is trying to learn Spanish for our trip to Mexico so he spurs me on!

What made you choose to learn Italian over other languages?

One of my favourite books as a teenager was set in Italy and after that I had a dream to move there. Nowadays I’m more realistic and the goal is to explore it thoroughly whilst making connections. It’s one of those languages that you have to have a passion for because you can’t use it in many different countries like you can with Spanish or French.

Have you managed to put it into practice with a local – and how was that experience?

My first ever trip to Italy. My dream trip! I used my Italian as much as I could, especially with a really friendly member of staff at the hotel who really encouraged me. Me and Josh actually still miss him sometimes even though we only knew each other for days!

What is your favourite line/sentence, or the one that always sticks in your head?

“L’ape è nello zoo” (the bee is in the zoo) is my favourite line 1. because it’s fun to say but 2. DuoLingo constantly repeats this line in my training and it barely even makes sense! Like lots of animals would be in a zoo, but a bee?

Do you think that Italian will be beneficial to you in the long-term?

I hope that being bilingual (one day) will be beneficial to me professionally, and maybe lead to opportunities. But mostly I’m doing it because I love Italian people and their language!

Have you created any resources to help others learn Italian?

I have recently started creating Italian worksheets like the one available at the end of this post. I also help myself by creating them because it ingrains the vocabulary in my mind. I’ve also started a Pinterest board for learning Italian which is pretty sparse at the moment but I will build it up over the coming weeks.

Would you consider learning another language?

I definitely would once I’m ‘finished’ with Italian. I’d love to learn Gaelic. It might not be very useful to me, but I think it would be so interesting and I’m very sentimental about being part-Scottish to be honest!


Congrats on making it to the end! Here’s my free downloadable file:

If you’d like to be included in a future post like this please drop me a DM @meaghanbethany or comment below!


29 thoughts on “Language for lockdown: a travel blogger collaboration

  1. I loved this post! I’m someone who likes to know the basics of a language before I travel somewhere (even if it’s just super simple phrases and a few words) so I’ve been trying to learn new languages during lockdown. I studied Spanish at A level so I’ve been practising that and also learning Italian as it’s next on my travel list! It was really interesting to read about everyones experiences with learning languages x

    https://www.femaleoriginal.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a nice post – I was never good at picking up another language in school, but I did take Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs this past year which was super cool to learn!
    Jenna ♥
    Stay in touch? Life of an Earth Muffin

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d love to learn another language. I studied German for 5 years at school but couldn’t put a sentence together now.

    Like

    1. That’s a great achievement! I think people forget that it’s constant practicing even when you’re “done” with the language! I’m yet to get to that point but hopefully one day 🙂

      Like

  4. Oh wow, this is such an interesting post! I learned a bit of French and German at school, but since visiting Mexico at the beginning of the year and feeling bad because I had no basic understanding of Spanish, I have started learning that over lockdown and I’ve really been enjoying it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post and I love languages. I started to study russian because I’m fascinated by this language with a different alphabet. By the way, english is my second language, I decided to start a travel blog in english just because I tought to have more exposure and a wider public….I’m italian, I live in a small town near Florence, Tuscany so feel free to get in touch if you’d like to practise the language

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post (if you’re into Russian it sounds like you will like our Part Two next Saturday!). I think it’s awesome that you’re writing in your second language. And Florence is like my dream holiday!

      Like

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