Working in a country where you do not speak the local language is an extraordinary experience. Interacting with persons in a new culture can be exciting.

The following are 10 tips that you should bear in mind when you working in a country where you do not speak the local or dominant language.

Listen carefully

Working in country where you do not speak the first language will require you to develop acute listening skills.

Much more focus is required to ensure that you clearly understand what is being said rather than what you think the person should say. Therefore, listen carefully and give each conversation your undivided attention.

Ask for the spelling of things

Understanding how things are spelt will allow you to better understand the pronunciation and learn the phonics of the language.

For the first month or so write down the names of colleagues as they introduce themselves. This will assist you in getting use to the sound of the language and how things are pronounced and spelt.

Always ask for confirmation

At the end of every meeting or conversation, it is good to recap what was said to ensure that your understanding of what was said was accurate and vice versa.

This will provide an opportunity to iron out any potential errors. If there is a task that your colleague needs to complete, asks them to repeat the tasks to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Speak slowly

Be aware of the speed at which you speak. Resist the urge to speak at the normal pace as you would when speaking with a native speaker.

This will show consideration to your colleagues and encourage them to interact more with you. Some persons may be reluctant to engage with you if they feel that they always have to ask you to slow down.

Use popular and small words

Be mindful of the language barrier so use smaller and well- known words when communicating. You can use certain opportunities to create experiences where people can expand their vocabulary.

Persons are always looking for an occasion to improve their English. However, be sensitive to situations where you can infuse new words or you should stick to basic vocabulary. Beware not to use slangs as this could further complicate the communication process.

Be patient

Be willing to repeat yourself a tremendous amount of time as well as provide explanations to the meaning of words. Exercise patience and tolerance when dealing with your colleagues.

Be willing to learn

Be open to learning the local language. Join different classes and practice speaking the local language at your workplace.  There may be times where you may pronounce a word incorrectly and your colleagues may laugh but this will break the ice.

From my experience people love to see when you put forward an interest in learning their local language. You should also venture out and learn parts of the culture that is unique that you may not find in your local culture.

Smile more

A smile is understood in every language and in every culture. In the absence of having the appropriate words to say a smile can truly break the ice and make persons feel more comfortable around you. So smile much more!

Be willing to experiment

Use the opportunity to immerse yourself into the culture and try local foods and visit amazing sites. There may never be another opportunity in life to return to some of the places that you visit so use your weekends to be a tourists. provides groups that you be a part of depending on your interest. Joining an English group is usually an easy one as people will love to have native speakers around.

Your colleagues may be willing to provide recommendations so reach out and ask them.

Have fun

Enjoy your unique experience as it will truly enrich your life forever.  Meet people, make new friends and create amazing memories.

If you enjoyed this article you may also like the following articles entitled How Working Abroad Can Enhance Your Career Journey and Cambodia- A Helpful Expat Guide To Your Relocation. Feel free to click the previous links to explore.

Final Thoughts

For the travel enthusiasts working in different cultures is a great way to travel slowly and immerse oneself into various cultures.

Trust these tips above help you adjust to this environment and assist you in overcoming communication barriers. Mostly importantly enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

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 Practical Tips For Working In A Country Where You Dont Speak The Language

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