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Tools of the Trade: Language

As is being showcased in current GFS material, working and traveling abroad can bring many challenges and necessities with getting by in the environment/ region you’re in-- language is a core element and tool for this. There are several ways to efficiently and effectively learn a language applicable to where you intend to go, be it “crash course”/ immersion learning, program-related learning tools and platforms, and the academic approach. There is no one way to learn a language, but there are tools and tips you can utilize to quickly learn key phrases to help you.

  • - Learn how to say “hello”, “goodbye”, “please”, “thank you”, “yes”, and “no” in the language you want to learn. These core elements will help build rapport and allow you to conduct yourself cordially and appropriately.

  • - Next, learn how to say “How much does this cost”, “can you help me”, and “where is the...” in the language. These are pivotal to helping you understand the “lay of the land” and how to engage in commerce among other things, like asking for help.

  • - And of course, being Gutter Fighting Secrets, we recommend you learn phrases like “Stop!”,“Help!”, “Drop your weapon!”, and “Call the police!”. These phrases are going to keep you alive in a bad situation and/ or if something goes wrong and you’re up against a criminal trying to rob you or otherwise do you harm. Use these in conjunction to GFS combative techniques to defend yourself, and get away from the threat to a safe place and call for help. Of course other aspects (as detailed in the travel safety manual) like knowing where your embassy/ consulate is and local medical centers are of the utmost help and importance. The aforementioned programs and platforms like babbel, rosetta stone, or duolingo can be very useful and effective, but take more time just like academia/ schooling to learn the language in a more formal sense, and will cost money. Don’t discredit these programs or a language teacher or tutor, but just realize it takes time and financial investment. Buying a phrasebook can be just as effective and much like some of the language apps, you can take it with you anywhere to use as a quick reference guide to help you along the way. I recommend the Berlitz brand pocket/ quick guide books, they are very concise and very useful—I’ve got one for learning Russian, and even the dated version I own is extremely useful. That brand of book is accessible in almost every major language, highly recommend looking into them as they also provide quick access knowledge on various other aspects of the country you’re going to, like how hostels and hotel booking works, renting a vehicle, and even typical nightlife timelines and when common times when meals are partaken. Of course, the longer you practice or the longer you’re in the area you intend to go to, you will pickup more and more of the local language, you always need to take it upon yourself to continue learning and push yourself to get to a functional level of usage. Understand the cultural nuances of how business/ basic transactions are conducted, and the localized slang being used. Taking these things into consideration and implementation will help you build rapport, gain friends, and just overall help you get by easier. Show interest in where you’re going and study the country/ region. Stay adaptive, and stay lethal. About the author: Derek (aka “The Metalhead Mercenary”) is a US Army Infantry Veteran and seasoned Private Security Contractor and Executive Protection Specialist with a combined 21

years of experience. He still currently works in the industry.

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