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How stressful can traveling without knowing the language be? Posted by on Jun 29, 2018 in Adventures, Countries, Languages, travel

Learning a new language can significantly help you manage day-to-day stress. Why is it important to consider learning a new language from a health perspective? Well, the World Health Organization has declared stress to be a health threat for the 21st century. In their report on stress in the workplace, the WHO identifies stress-related causes as a major reason for sick leave. By learning a new language, you’re actively working against the most prominent stress factors — with the nice side effect of speaking a new language!

I know that English is spoken in most of the countries and probably people from USA are not as stressed out about the lack of knowledge  of for example Italian, when traveling to Italy. But truly, you never know if someone will speak English at the place where you decided to spend your vacation, right?

Fears that hold you back are limiting you from experiences more than they are protecting you.

I have a great example. My parents were visiting from Poland last month. Unfortunately, they only know very few simple words in English…I was picking them up in Boston. After confirming that their plane landed, I was very anxious to see them walking through the gate and giving them a big hug…Well, it took quite a while, before I saw their faces. They were waiting to pick up their luggage until the carousel stopped and there was no more bags coming…Their luggage was lost. They walked up to the custom officers and in the sign language tried to explain that they only have their carry ons, but their checked luggage is missing. Unfortunately, the conversation was going nowhere… Finally I saw them, but noticed that they were really upset and stressed out. They explained what happened and I tried to calm them down. They were upset that all the gifts they picked out so carefully for their granddaughters were now missing and may not be found. They felt really ashamed that they were not able to speak the language to resolve the problem. Long story short, luggage was on the next flight to US, we were able to wait for it and have it within next 3 hours. But I have to tell you that I haven’t seen my parents stressed out like that in a long time.

Image courtesy pixabay.com

Now, if you actually know the language a little bit and are not stressed out, there are a lot of health benefits of traveling abroad! Traveling makes you healthier, relieves stress, enhances your creativity, boosts happiness and satisfaction and lowers the risk of depression! So start studying foreign languages and make more travel plans 🙂

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About the Author:Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. Edward Pindral:

    What did you suggest if luggage was missing on the next visit.

    • Kasia:

      @Edward Pindral Hi Edward! I think that translating apps on your phone can do a great job when you have to explain something in a language you don’t know. However, a lot of people don’t use their phones or are not comfortable with using apps. I think that in this case a paper with few sentences translated into both languages may help. Definitely start with “I do not speak “English”. Is there someone I can speak to in “Polish”. And few sentences like: ” My luggage is lost”, “Where is the information center?” etc. I hope this answers your question:)