I usually try to pick up a couple of phrases and root vocabulary of the main language of any place I am going to visit. Even with my Germany trip imminent, I’ve had difficulty finding time to hit the Rosetta Stone – German One as much as I would like.
The funny thing is that as soon as you go overseas, you’ll double your language ability within an incredible short period of time just through immersion. Without constant conversation that total immersion provides, your ability to learn is hampered.
The fortunate thing is that I’ve always found people overseas to be much more tolerant of tourists trying to speak their language than we Americans are of others fumbling through our dialect of English. I cannot express enough how much richer my travel experiences have been trying to pick up even a little of the local language. Try it on your next trip. You might even get good enough to write this basic song!