When I talk to folks at International Living conferences, I usually ask if they've figured out which overseas destination they're planning to move to. Many haven't...they're just exploring their options before they make their plans to retire.
You want to move abroad. You want to retire, buy a second home, or expose your grandchildren to a different environment, or start a business overseas. But...but...the language. How will you ever get a job, run a business, or make friends if you can't speak the language?
If you’re contemplating moving to a Spanish-speaking country, then learning to speak Spanish really has to be on your to-do list. But here’s the cool part…you don’t have to learn tenses or be able to read Spanish literature. You just need enough to get by.
You want to move abroad. You want to retire, or expose your grandchildren to a different environment, start a business overseas, or simply buy a home overseas. But...but...the language. How will you ever get a job, run a business, make friends, speak to real estate agents...if you can't speak the language?
Nelson Mandela once said, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." I like to paraphrase Mr. Mandela's wise words and say, "If you speak just one word in another person's language, that word goes to his heart."
In 1990 my wife, Tuli, and I took our honeymoon in the Mexican city of culture and art, San Miguel de Allende. We were young and in love. It was in the early hours morning when we arrived in San Miguel. The streets were empty and silent.
You never know what can happen when you move to another country, particularly one where the language is different to your own. And when you learn the language, it can help you to build relationships with the people in your new local community. I often run into people I taught Spanish to 10 or 15 years ago and I always ask them how their Spanish is going. Mostly the response is the same: “My Spanish is horrible but I get along just fine. The Power Verbs take you a long way.” (With Power Verbs, students learn to say “I need... I want... I am going to... I can… and combine them with 100 verbs. This gives them to skill to express their needs and want.)
The man was a powerful politician. He might not like to be identified…so I’ll call him John. He came to visit me in San Miguel de Allende, the beautiful Mexican town where I have lived for 25 years, teaching Spanish to people of all ages. John was working on his Spanish through my online program and had learned the basics. Now, he wanted to improve his command of the language, in the field…so to speak. But, in spite of his many successes over the years, this high achiever confided in me that he was nervous about taking what he had learned into the real world.