How would you deal with an emergency on holiday … if you don’t speak the language?

You’re on holiday. You’re having a lovely time. You’re getting brown, haven’t had a tummy bug, and they’ve given you a natty little hire car, better than yours at home. It’s your first solo trip and you’re doing fine. You’re congratulating yourself on time and money well spent.

You’re relaxed away from the office. You’ve rung mum and dad, your partner and the cat. You’ve even bought your holiday presents in good time. You’re on the beach and everything is dandy, in fact you’re feeling on top of the world.

You have found, though, unlike you imagined not everyone speaks English. Why didn’t you book into your local language school as you meant to? Not enough time, of course. You put it off as it didn’t seem a priority compared with buying new clothes and sun tan lotions. Never mind, you’ll get by.

You return to the hotel to find it over-run by local police. Upon enquiry at reception, you find that thieves have managed to access the rooms and stolen guests’ passports, wallets and valuables. And worse, one of the rooms was yours.

You get to your room and yes, everything’s been rifled. Many things are missing. Your new digital camera with all your holiday photos, your new designer clothes, your passport, the rest of your local currency, your credit cards, all your jewellery and that gorgeous Michael Kors watch you were given by your boss last birthday.

After weeping profusely over the hotel manager, you assume she’ll help you deal with the police and authorities, but you were wrong. She’s more concerned with dealing with head office and PR fall-out.

It then takes the remainder of your holiday to sort out replacement money and passport, deal with the insurance company local office, airport and car hire company, most of which only offer staff who talk the native language.

It’s an awful situation, of course, made worse by your feeling of isolation and inadequacy at not being able to communicate well enough. Now you can see the benefit of learning more languages, especially when you’re going to countries where English isn’t spoken much.

You resolve that upon your return, as well as using the insurance money on new jewellery, new camera and clothes, you’ll book a language class with The Language Guru. Here’s the tricky part … will you join a 10-week class where you’ll meet new people and make some new friends, or book some 1-2-1 Skype sessions so you can learn without leaving home?


The scenario has, of course, been imagined for this blog but the situation could be real enough. So could fire, flood, volcano, harassment and every other bad thing you can imagine.

Learning a second (or third) language helps keep your grey cells working as well as being an essential part of your holiday toolkit and is part of your personal development if you’re someone who likes to keep enhancing your skills and abilities. And it could just make life a little easier when things go wrong. Lesson learned.


Call The Language Guru on 01273 222900 or book online at

9 out of 10 clients think we’re excellent! Find out for yourself.

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