Learn how to communicate without speaking the language…
If you are the adventurous type, living overseas might be the perfect fit for you. Just spending time out of your comfort zone can be healthy and totally invigorating. For Larisa and I, living in Ukraine is the perfect fit. We are close to family and of course, friends.
We are lucky. Fortunately, we are in good health. We go for walks and love learning new hobbies.
Our days are filled with creating web based content. We have the luxury of financial freedom and all of the side benefits. However, I need to tell you that living in another country is not for everyone.
So, who fits into that category of a stay-at-home man or woman? Well, to start with, being a man or woman does not matter. It’s more about you and your willingness to accept another way of life. As a couple, life would be more interesting for sure.
If you are thinking about living in another country, you really need to carefully analyze the future. Will your time away impact others? Do or will your parents depend on you at some point? Not sure if making the switch is right for you? Make a list of the positive and negative! That’s a good starting point. Don’t be in a hurry. Never rush into life changing decisions.
Have fun with Life!
Let’s start with language. Do you need to know the language spoken in another country? Well, it is a good idea, but not essential. At least in the beginning. What language did you study in school. If you are like me, you most likely studied Spanish. Yes, I remember some Spanish. Many Americans choose to live in Mexico because they know some Spanish.
Of course, that’s just one of the many reasons Americans choose a second home. Ukrainians speak both Ukrainian and Russian. In fact, most of the smaller communities or villages speak Ukrainian. There are at least three distinct Ukrainian dialects spoken in Ukraine. For vocabulary, half of Ukrainian is Russian. So, when you study Ukrainian, half of that will be Russian.
Now for the good news. All Ukrainian students are also required to study a foreign language. Most study English. That would be British English as opposed to American English. Yes! There are many differences on top of the silent “R.” That’s another subject.
More importantly, how can you communicate with a Ukrainian that forgot those English lessons? Actually, it’s not difficult at all.
Just ask yourself how you communicate with speakers of English now. Would you be surprised to know that less than ten percent of your communication skills are verbal? Your tone and body language account for the rest.
Living in a foreign country can be a challenge for anyone unwilling to modify their communication skills. Oh, have I mentioned that thing called a mobile phone? In today’s world, there are many apps available for your favorite Apple or Android device.
Take some time and look for an app that assists you with language translation. I like to refer to my communication toolbox when I get into a situation. These days, communicating with Ukrainians is easy and often fun.
Here are a few tips when communicating with someone in another language. Always start with a smile and a greeting in their language. Ask if they know English. Half of the time, they can communicate in English at some level. While a person may not speak English fluently, they most likely, will understand some of what you are saying. Use their language if possible.
Learning a few common nouns is always a good idea. If you are shopping, don’t be afraid to point. Yes, I understand you were taught not to point. Use body language once you know what you are doing. A simple nod means yes. Use your head with a simple left to right motion for no. Sounds simple right?
Something to remember… Gestures and body language can have a different meaning in different languages.
One last thought about communicating in a foreign land. When you need to discuss legal matters and important agreements like renting a flat, use the services of an interpreter.
Having someone qualified as a professional is extremely important. This should always be done with one that is not connected to the person you are conversing with. It is also important to make real friends that can be trusted when living in a foreign country.