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I am at an intermediate stage of learning a foreign language now. I heard that one of the best ways to get better at a foreign language is to get a gf who speaks that language. However, this is a catch 22 since its hard to get a gf (who doesn't speak English) if you are not fluent in her language as it's hard to flirt, use slang, etc. Have you guys overcome this dilemma?
When I first arrived in China, I hit it off with this waitress in a cafe near the office. We would sometimes sit together with our laptops and Google Translate to communicate. She bought me a lot of gifts. Things never went past holding hands though as I eventually met someone else.
In Asia it seems that the less you speak the language, the easier it is to find a GF. This particularly goes well if you are of Anglo Saxon appearance.
You are attractive to many women as you look like a Hollywood actor ( even if you are from Bosnia Herzegovina) and a 'foreigner'. Only white people are called 'foreigners' in Asia.
In Asia, many girls will be attracted to you as you present a mystery to them and they want to learn your culture and language and play host. They also want to practice their English. It's very entertaining and enticing to them. Many white guys capitalize on that. Seen it so many times.
This is why Brits, Aussies and white Americans never bother to learn the language beyond a few words, stride proudly with a head held high and have locals tip toe behind them in colonial awe.
Once you learn the language, though, and try to fit in, they lose interest and they don't know how to treat you. So, many begin to avoid you. You are now an aberration.
In Latin America, this is somewhat true although to a lesser extent and in Slavic countries, it will be true only among those girls who specifically look for foreigners because of adventure, escapism and a Hollywood dream.
When I was in Japan, I found that my ability to speak Japanese was often a liability, not an asset at least when it came to two things: teaching English there and picking up girls. In other areas it was definitely an asset.
Having said all that, if you are reasonably attractive and the girls like you because of that, love will conquer all.
In the meantime, please arm yourself with a dictionary and a phrase-book. Also, google:language exchange. There are many clubs online that will help you find a partner in most countries to study language for free ( you teach them English one hour and they do the opposite). You may find a girl even where you are now.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
In most countries it's not too hard to communicate. If you're English then you already half-know Spanish, French and a few other languages.
Tonal languages like Thai or Mandarin are another matter altogether.
I dated a non-English speaking girl the other day, yeah that was hard work! And remember that I've had quite a few Chinese lessons by now.
The good news is that chatting online is much easier thanks to automatic translators and stuff. And while my spoken Chinese is rubbish, I am much, much better at typing good Chinese.
Ladislav has a good point. One thing I would add, though, is that when you learn the language and try to fit in, you will discover a different group of people who will like and except you. I'll give some examples.
In Shanghai, in the business and professional world, it seems they DON'T WANT you to speak the language. They want you to be "the foreigner", speaking english, or Japanese if you're anime director or something, as though that gives credibility to their event or institution. I have been to shows or conventions where they have a huge sign saying "international" while the only foreigner there is me. On the street, though, the average people are TOO HAPPY if you speak the language, are interested in their culture and country, and they will be so open to you.
Japan is exactly the opposite. In the business and professional world, they not only want, but EXPECT you to speak the language, speak it perfectly, and do everything their way. On the street, though, doing that will have girls pounding the pavement in the opposite direction. But wait a minute! I said you discover a different group of people, right? Well, picking up office lady types and nerdy girks at trade shows and conventions is too easy. It shouldn't even be called picking up since they are practically throwing themselves at you, especially after the drinking and KTV that inevitably follows a convention or trade show.
Also, old people will LOVE YOU!
The girls who want the foreigner who doesn't speak the language can be strange. They are happy to spend the day with you and not talk at all. Still they want you to just BE THERE, even if she is playing on the computer all day.
Xiongmao also has a great idea. Chat on the computer works so much better for both sides because most can read and write some english even if they can't speak or understand it.
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