What Countries are Friendliest to Language Learners?

Picture it. You’ve practiced your target language to near perfection, and absorbed as many Youtube videos on pronunciation as you can. You open your mouth to speak to a local in your chosen destination excited to finally use that language and are met with… disdain. There isn’t much more soul-crushing! Thankfully, there are plenty of countries around the world where language learners will be welcomed and encouraged! Here are some of the best for you to visit, based on a 2018 survey by InterNations.

Lisbon, Portugal via Flickr / Flickr

Portugal

Language: Portuguese

The Portuguese are a welcoming nation, with easy-going people who will go out of their way to ensure you have the best experiences during your stay. Perhaps the relaxed, laid-back mentality is due to the proximity to so much sun, sea, and sand, and who could blame them — or not be tempted to live the same way? With good food, great company, and some of the best coastal scenery you could ask for, speaking Portuguese in Portugal is one of the best immersive language experiences you could have.

Here are some other countries with Portuguese as an official language that are ideal places to visit to speak the languane. Countries are marked in Italics if they make the InterNations friendly list: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe.

Taiwan

Language: Mandarin

It is rare to find a traveler who hasn’t fallen in love with Taiwan! Visitors have story after story of just how approachable and friendly everyone in Taiwan is. The Taiwanese seem to be willing to go out of their way and drop everything they are doing to help someone who is in need of directions or advice. With delicious food and some of the most stunning scenery you will ever see, where better to practice Mandarin? You are surrounded by so many people who would love to help you learn!

Here are some other places to visit that speak Mandarin, although you won’t find many as friendly as Taiwan: China, Singapore, Macau, and Hong Kong.

Cancun, Mexico via Flickr / Flickr

Mexico

Language: Spanish

Mexicans tend to be very welcoming towards tourists, happy to help them with suggestions to visit or give directions if they are lost. This is another destination with incredible food and beautiful places to visit. And with such friendly hosts, who knows, you might find yourself sitting down to dinner with new friends, where you can really practice your Spanish! The more cynical traveler might point to the fact that Mexico’s travel and tourism industry is a huge economic driver, which means that friendliness comes at a cost. But who needs a cynic’s opinion when they have such wonderful, kind people around them?

Here are some other places to visit that speak Spanish. We also think that more of these countries should’ve made the friendly list: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Cambodia

Language: Khmer

The hospitality of the Cambodian people towards international travelers is renowned, despite the country being positioned mid-way on the Global Peace Index at 89th. Cambodia is also a country where you aren’t likely to fall into the typical tourist scams seen elsewhere in the world. With people so upfront and honest, what better place to practice a language? And while Khmer might not be hitting any most popular language lists soon, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good language to learn! Get some practice in over a delicious fish amok or kuy teav.

Other places to visit where you may hear Khmer: Across South-East-Asia,  Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.

 

Manama, Bahrain, Wikimedia / Wikimedia

Bahrain

Language: Arabic

Since Bahrain has topped the best destination for expats two years in a row, it goes without saying that Bahrain is welcoming towards language learners! Visitors to Bahrain say it is one of the best places to quickly make friends in, with Bahrainis happy to help and ready to stop for a chat no matter the time of day. Be ready to start feeling at home just minutes after arriving. And if you really get stuck there is a large expat community to help you settle should you need them.

Here are some other countries that use Arabic: Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, MoroccoOman, Palestine, Qatar,  Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen

The ideal way to perfect a language you have already learned is by visiting an origin country with native speakers. Learning languages should be fun, and there is nothing more fun than practically using the language in everyday life, which is why choosing the right destination that is user-friendly is an important decision you need to make. 

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