conversation 3425921 1920Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you and the person you’re with can’t speak the same language? If so, here are a number of actions that may or may not help you, tested by yours truly:

  1. Are you just passing by? Smile and wave, perhaps say hello in the language of the country. Congratulations, you’ve established a friendly relationship!
  2. Are you sitting next to one another? Share food. This is universally the most successful method for making friends. A lot can be said by pointing fingers and raising eyebrows. This method works for questions such as, “Do you want that?”, “Have you seen this?”, and “Is that your child that just put a beetle in his mouth?”
  3. High-fives are the preferred exchange of children. Before testing this tip, please be aware that young boys often turn this into a game of how-red-can-I-make-your-hand? If you want to become friends with a child aged four or younger, a game of chase doesn’t need a single word!
  4. With a single nudge on the shoulder, you can offer someone a chair, tell them that the bus has arrived, or keep them from walking in front of the tricycle that is flying far too quickly down the path for something so small.
  5. Finally, carry cough drops with you at all times. You do not know when you can save someone from a terrible attack of the coughs by pulling out one of those, and in my personal experience, this always earns a friend, even if all you can understand is “thank you!”


This article is part of the new project RawafedZusammenfluss - connecting old and new neighbours in Treptow-Köpenick. Together we explore the district and portray it's diversity.

IMG 0090 aMelissa is studying Arabic and Linguistics at Brigham Young University. She is an avid lover of good stories, mountains, and any growing green thing. She likes people too, especially small ones - specifically, her ten younger siblings. Her biggest accomplishments are still in the making.

Photo: Private

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