I have been in Germany for almost a month now. The experience has been amazing. Not just the cultural differences and the city of Berlin but the people I have met as well. I am writing this post just to express a very simply act that not many people take the time to do. Learn the pleasantries of your host countries language. I speak a small amount of German. Enough to order food or ask for directions. For those who can’t speak German, their are plenty of English speakers. Just because their are a lot of English speakers, doesn’t mean you should assume that everyone does. Saying, “hello” and “thank you” in the native tongue is not only polite, but also makes day to day experiences much more enjoyable.
My classmate Hugo, from France put it in a different perspective. He said when people come to his city and immediately start speaking English to him, he feels as if they are simply treating him as a part of their tour. Like he is just a sight for them to see. He speaks English fluently but that should not be assumed by them. When asked for directions in a very poor french accent he will gladly respond in English.
Trying to learn the language can also be fun! It is also a great way to start a conversation with locals. Most of whom are very keen to help you when you make mistakes. (Like when using the improper form of bathroom when asking a waitress where the restroom is. Speaking from personal experience.) It will make your study abroad trip that much more enjoyable!