“The best connections don’t require Wifi.” I know what you’re thinking – super corny, right? But, if you’re like me, you love traveling, not only for the music, landscapes, and sites, but also to make friends with the locals who live there!
On my trip to Puebla, Mexico (my first-time ever abroad!), I got invited to a quinceañera party (the birthday girl rode into the party on a corvette!), a Día de Los Tres Reyes celebration (I found the doll in the bread and didn’t choke on it! SCORE!), and even a wedding (I never turn down an all-night fiesta)! Not only did I love my new friends like family, but I also was able to see the city through their eyes.
What if you don’t know Spanish? Well, I wasn’t always completely confident in the Spanish language. Just like you, I am a native, English speaker. In fact, the first time I ever practiced with native speakers was in Puebla! And there were A LOT of bumps in the road (I might have accidentally told someone that I was pregnant…).
So I decided to get my butt in gear: I put together a list of questions and phrases that I could say in conversation. For example, I included, “I am from New Jersey/Soy de Nueva Jersey,” “I am in Puebla for four months/Estoy en Puebla por cuatro meses,” etc. Each morning, I read over the list, which gave me more practice and fluency. Soon, I was speaking to more Mexicans every day, growing my vocabulary, and making real friends!
So, here are some of the phrases that I used during my trip to Mexico to start conversations with the locals!
Where’s the bar?
¿Dónde está el bar?
Just kidding! (Or am I?) Here are some more!
What is your name?
¿Cómo te llamas?
What do you do for work?
¿Qué haces para tu trabajo?
For how long have you lived here?
¿Por cuánto tiempo has vivido aquí?
To dig a little deeper, I used these questions and phrases:
What do you like to do?
¿Qué te gusta hacer?
What do you do on the weekends?
¿Qué haces los fines de semana?
What music do you listen to?
¿Qué tipo de música escuchas?
Tell me about your family.
Describe tu familia.
Tell me about some fun traditions from ______[country]____.
Describe algunas tradiciones divertidas de ___[país]_______.
And you might want to exchange your contact information (especially if you’re talking to a hottie at the bar)!
What is your phone/Whatsapp number?
¿Cuál es tu número de teléfono/Whatsapp?
Do you have Facebook/Instagram?
These conversation starters helped me strike up conversations in bars, cafes, grocery stores, metro stops, taxis, and airports!
I hope you have an AMAZING trip filled with fun times and good friends! Which city are you headed to next?
About Our Guest Blogger: Shannon Marshall and her twin sister, Jessica, have spoken their way through Mexico, Spain, and Chile. They help travelers, like them, make the most out of their trips abroad by having confident conversations in Spanish. Before your next trip, get the word-for-word phrases that will have you talking to Spanish speakers as soon as you land: https://speakwithlocals.leadpages.co/speak-spanish-as-soon-as-you-land-2/