Interrail - languages

bumchicken @ 06-04-2008 22:22

Hi there.

I'm a 17-year-old Scottish girl travelling in Europe at the end of June/start of July with a 5-days-in-10 pass.

Unfortunately, I suffer from the typical British malade of being totally ignorant of foreign languages, with the exception of a tiny bit of highschool french.

From everyone's InterRail experience, how difficult have you found it communicating with people in other countries? I'm particularly hesitant about the European train stations - if I go to book my next journey, will there be any English-speaking staff?

baobab @ 06-04-2008 22:35

well i can say that you can't have a rule about communication as it depends on the people you are going to meet..
although if you speak english ( 🤣 ) probably you won't face any serious problems , although if you have a nice Scottish accent it would be better to smooth it ( 😁 )
also try to learn some basic words in some certain languages depending from the countries you are going to visit and have a notebook to write down phrases , directions , what do you want to say.. , to describe something by painting it...

which countries do you want to visit?

admin @ 07-04-2008 01:07

Hi bumchicken,

Very good, and sensible, question. Many of the big stations abroad have an international counter where you can speak English. I'm Scottish too and sometimes that is a problem. I've been learning French for a long time but I'm, unfortunately, still a beginner. What I do, for travelling, take phrase books and dictionaries for longer stays and download and print some useful phrases and stuff for the shorter visits. This means that I can at least be polite wherever I go.

I've just downloaded useful Greek, Serbian and Hungarian phrases for this year's trip and am having a lot of fun getting my teeth round them. I also send key words and phrases to my mobile, as emails, so that I can acccess them easily anywhere.

Before I go to the stations to make my reservations I write down the reservation clearly; with departure date, time and destination, and couchette if required, and write Interrail pass so that I get charged the correct amount. This means that if I can't make myself understood, I just show the person what I want to reserve, and I always remember to say please/thank you/ goodbye. This works without fail. Hope this is helpful to you and bon voyage.


iaink


Hi there.

I'm a 17-year-old Scottish girl travelling in Europe at the end of June/start of July with a 5-days-in-10 pass.

Unfortunately, I suffer from the typical British malade of being totally ignorant of foreign languages, with the exception of a tiny bit of highschool french.

From everyone's InterRail experience, how difficult have you found it communicating with people in other countries? I'm particularly hesitant about the European train stations - if I go to book my next journey, will there be any English-speaking staff?

AlphaOmega @ 07-04-2008 08:21

Hi bumchicken,

Personally, I didn't have any trouble communicating in any part of Europe i've yet been to. Then again, I speak six european languages 😧

In most of western and northern europe it shouldn't be a problem at all, although in eastern europe (poland, czech republic, former yugoslavia, hungaria etc) some people may not speak any english. Generally, at the big stations however they do speak english (although i had an awkard encounter with a lady at the warsaw train station).

Even if they don't speak english you should be fine buying tickets just pointing on the map or repetitively pronouncing the name of the city you want to go to, showing your interrail pass to indicate you want just the supplement and just use your hands and feet.

If you want to travel to Hungaria, Czech Rep or Poland a few phrases of German (or the respective native languages) may be useful, as natives tend to speak better German than English. If you're going to the baltic state or anywhere else near the russian or any other russian-speaking-country's border a few words of russian won't hurt.

i want to go to ... should be useful.
German: ich will nach ... (gehen)
Russian (phoenetic): Ya hachoo pjerejte k...

Have fun travelling!

AO


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