Do you speak different languages ? Do you only apply in countries speaking english easily?

I noticed there are some french, french canadian, italian, german members on this forum but the majority is english speaking (mother tongue)

I would like to know if some of you speak other languages and if it helps you obviously to be selected when you apply abroad by owners who are not american, british or australian.

Do you rely on english to manage in all situations ? Even in remote places in foreign countries ?
Is Google translator enough ?

1 Like

I sit across SE Asia but tends to be for owners who are American, Australian or European.
Most speak English well, as it is used in that region as the 2nd language of most locals.
I have sat for a German family in Japan, whose daughters spoke perfect English, with an American accent, a Dutch lady in Thailand, Brazilians in Singapore,
I have never really had any problem with language, and try to pick up a few words in each country, at least to be polite. So being able to speak a local language is not an issue.
(Thailand, Vietnam, Malasia, Indonesia, Japan, Hongkong, Singapore)
Edit : Probably the most difficult place has been Singapore, where English is the main language, but they have a version called Singlish - lah.

3 Likes

I apply to all sits in English but I add the fact that I can speak other languages if applicable to that country. I don’t know if this helps or not but can’t hurt. I have travelled to many countries (not pet sitting) where I don’t speak the language and I have always managed to get by without much problem.

1 Like

We speak enough Spanish to manage and have actively looked for sits in the past where we can practice our language skills, like Mexico, Spain etc. Now we are in France and our French is rusty but we are constantly improving. One thing we always do when we arrive in a country where English isn’t the 1st or 2nd language is to learn and write down phrases to deal with an emergency, either for ourselves, the property or the pets we are caring for. Phrases to ask for help at vets, make appointments etc. This Christmas we had to take an elderly pets to the vets in France and they did not speak English. Our preparation helped us get through the visit with no issues. This is a great translation app:

I use it all the time :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Would love to learn French

3 Likes

My husband is Greek and I have a good knowledge of British Sign Language - I always mention it in our applications - you never know if it may be the magic link that gets you the booking.

2 Likes

I would apply anywhere, regardless of the language, so long as the home owners were aware of my ability (or lack there of) and were ok with it. That being said, we mostly travel in UK, France, Italy, and Spain, so the languages are somewhat familiar to me and I can usually get by.

I can speak French reasonably well and I always refresh before we travel. When I’m going to be in Italy or Spain or Germany or wherever, I work on Duolingo in that language for 5-6 months before we go to make sure I have a basic understanding of the structure and can read simple instructions and say enough basic phrases to get by.

I find google translate and phrase books to be very helpful when I can’t make myself understood. It’s very rare that I’ve been completely stuck in a situation where it was important to make myself understood though, even when I had to go pick up medication at the vet for a lamb I was looking after,

Once in Spain, my husband had to see a doctor. I looked up all the words to describe his symptoms and she and I wrote sentences into our phones to translate the rest. It worked out great!

3 Likes

We like to “live like the locals” when we pet sit. That’s the whole point of it in our opinion, spend time getting to know the area. This means we have to be able to communicate with people as well so we do try to find a common language. Between us we speak English and Spanish with a little French and German thrown in.
So far, we have been able to get by but as we get more adventurous we might have to learn a few more phrases in different languages. It’s part of the fun for us.
Elsie

3 Likes

So far we’ve only done sits in the UK. We’d love sit internationally in the future and for me, the easiest place to start would be France - I lived in France for a year and attended University there.

I also speak German, although I haven’t used it for a while. I know some Spanish. I even have a very rusty GCSE qualification in Russian, although I’ve never put it to use!

As others have said, I always try to learn a few phrases in the local language, and encourage the children to learn too. My 12 year old is learning French at school and hoping to also learn Spanish next year. My 10 year old has been learning German at school, as they have a German Teaching Assistant. A housesit could be a great opportunity for them to absorb and practice the languages they are learning.

5 Likes

Thank you @Debbie love that you encourage your children they are sponges and often pick languages up far more quickly than adults and in my experience have few inhibitions about using the language. Exposure to the language when sitting and living like a local is a great way to authentically practise and improve …

1 Like