Top 5 Phrases To Learn When Studying Abroad

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Oct 29, 2018

Ah, the thrill of studying in a foreign country!

Studying abroad is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that marks an exciting journey for a student. Just the thought of being exposed to a different culture, meeting new people, and exploring (or getting lost in) an unfamiliar place makes us all want to pack our bags and go!

While it definitely spells real F-U-N, it’s not without its downsides. For starters, there are ~major~ adjustments and culture shock moments you have to overcome. Good thing, it’s never too late to learn new things! (Like. Right. Now.)

If you’re studying abroad or still planning to do so, here are some key phrases that’ll surely come in handy for your stay:


1. Greetings

We know it’s no-brainer! But though greetings are the bare minimum of the minimum, it’s very important and probably the easiest way to engage with the locals. From the usual hi-hellos to the “good morning” phrases, learning the greetings in a native language helps break the foreigner barrier and makes starting a conversation easier.

Greetings you should learn:

  • Hi!/ Hello!
  • How are you?
  • Good morning!
  • Good afternoon!
  • Good evening!



2. Conversation starters

It’s one way to greet someone and get his/her attention, another to actually converse and keep the attention. Learning conversation starters from the most random to the downright serious isn’t only your gateway to making friends, it’ll help you learn culture from the people themselves. Win-win!

Conversation starters you should learn:

  • What’s your favorite food?
  • Where do you usually hangout?
  • What local sports team do you support?
  • Why did you choose this school/course?
  • Who’s your favorite local artist?

girl asking questions


3. Basics

Like the greetings, knowing the basics of your host country’s language is a quick way to immerse yourself in their world. Since looking different from the rest already makes you standout (and it’s okay, you can’t do anything about it), shocking them with a familiar response might earn you some brownie points.

Basic phrases you should learn:

  • Thank you!
  • You’re welcome!
  • Sorry
  • Excuse me
  • I’m fine/good

man saying thank you


4. Every day phrases

Nothing’s more tragic than getting lost in a foreign country with no friends and no English-speaking locals to help you. That’s why learning everyday phrases such as directions and market banters are your lifesavers! Save yourself from the hassle (and expenses!), and learn the commonly used phrases every day.

Everyday phrases you should learn:

  • Where is the bus station?
  • How do you get there?
  • Where is the nearest coffee shop?
  • How much is this?
  • What’s the last price? (You. Need. This.)

man asking question


5. Go-to Line

If there’s something students studying abroad are used to (and borderline tired) hearing, it’s introducing themselves and explaining where they came from and why they came there and how all of these studying abroad thing happened. You get the idea, think first day of school! So, to save you some time, it’s a good idea to come up with your go-to line. At least by the time you get there, you’ve practiced it over and over!

Information you can include in your go-to line:

  • Basic profile information (name, age, home country)
  • Reason for choosing your course and school
  • What you already know about their culture
  • What you expect to learn and experience throughout your stay
  • Fun fact about you!!

i am groot


Studying abroad is more than just going to school in a foreign country. It’s an experience, an adventure to remember even long after you’re done with the program. So might as well make the best memories! But first, do your homework and learn these phrases. It’ll be so much easier from there.

Ready to meet new people and learn new culture? Read more tips on Studying Abroad at now!


Written By:
Angel Cruz

Angel is a storyteller who enjoys a good cup of coffee while listening to her family and friends' everyday stories. As a Development Communication graduate, she firmly believes that communities are the birthing ground of change where real people with real stories are just waiting to be heard. She is passionate about learning, coffee, and the next generation. On her spare time, you can find her happily lost in bookstore shelves, grocery alleys, coffee shops... or taking a nap.

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