Speaking English in Europe

Nervous about going to Europe and encountering language barriers? How will my travel be only speaking English in Europe? In 2014, I spent almost the entire year in Europe traveling solo through 36 countries. One of the typical questions I received from fellow Americans that I ran into or emails from friend back in America was if I had any problems only speaking English.

Language Barriers

First – let me say that I wish I spoke MANY more languages. I had a good conversational level of Spanish back in college. However, without daily use, my Spanish skills are back to rudimentary. Basic Spanish though will help you with understanding other romance languages ie Italian. And I do try to learn key phrases in EACH language to help me get through when needed.

Overall though, we are very lucky that Europe does have a lot of interaction with the English language.  Most folks under 40 generally spoke English – sometimes broken – but it definitely beat my attempt at their language. And for that I am THANKFUL.

English in Europe

An email came through my inbox today from a Statistical Map site that I like – Jakubmarian.com – showing a map of the percentage of people with “conversational” English skills (Not just some words).  The data is from 2012, so Croatia is not included.

English in Europe

So, if you are planning a trip to Europe, you will likely not only run into those that can speak English, but have a level of conversational English.

Many foreigners would notice my American accent and ask if they could talk to me on trains to practice their English while we passed time on the journey. Smart right?  Either use this as your opportunity to practice their language also, or enjoy a nice reprieve from the brain overload of figuring out a lot of new systems and signs and enjoy a nice conversation in English with your new friend.