Been on the road for 6 months now and visited 2 continents & 10 countries. Hoping for 20 by year’s end. I’ve learned a few things about myself, and the world along the way, but one in particular stands out.
In the good ole U.S.A., we are so lucky that English is our native language. English is a global language and the most widely learned second language. Almost everyone speaks at least a little. (We'll check back on this in Asia)
We just landed in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday, and they have a whole different alphabet that I can’t even comprehend! (See below, Serbian Cyrillic) But, almost everywhere I go, I see signage in English, menus with English translations, etc. Almost everyone speaks enough to help you out.
This is the cafe/bar I'm in right now in Belgrade. It's called M-Eating. And as you can see, the sign outside, the signs on the walls inside---all in English.
We are so fortunate. Traveling the world is a cinch when everyone* speaks your language. (*Well, not everyone, of course, but plenty enough to get by easily)
This leads me to another thought.
I think learning a second language should be mandatory in the United States. From a YOUNG age. I think foreign language should start in grade school and be part of the curriculum all the way through high school.
I wish I knew how to speak a second language. And third, fourth, fifth, etc. Almost all of my European travel mates know ~3-5 languages. I wish I was forced to learn at least a 2nd when I was younger.
Now more than ever, we live in a global economy. Our world is so interconnected. If we want to be a leader, (heck, even compete) on a global scale---why don’t we push our communicate skills to better relate to other countries? We shouldn’t rest on our laurels because English is the most common language. We should be pushing ourselves to learn, grow and adapt. The rest of the world adapts to English. And I am so thankful for that.
Who knows, maybe if future generations were fluent in foreign languages, it would bolster our long term economy? Perhaps it would create more jobs in the US?
If anything, it would go a long way in showing the world that we aren’t just selfish Americans who think their s*#t don’t stink. Cuz, trust me...that's a thing. :]