Travel is a personal experience, and everyone looks for something different when deciding on a destination for a trip abroad. We’ve heard from our travelers that some of you love testing your language skills during your trips (it’s the moment of truth: how much do you really remember from high school Spanish?). While others feel more comfortable going to English speaking countries so they can instantly connect with locals and easily navigate the area during free time.
As a part of EF Education First, Go Ahead has access to EF’s global network, including the EF EPI (or EF English Proficiency Index), which collects data on English language aptitude from nearly 1 million adult language learners around the world. So if you’re wondering where to travel based on the English language skills in different destinations, here’s what you need to know!
Are you more comfortable in areas where English is spoken?
Unsurprisingly, Europe has the strongest non-native speakers. The Netherlands is the top-ranked English speaking country, followed by their Nordic neighbors of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. In general, Northern and Western European countries rank well with their English speaking skills. A trip to these regions will provide plenty of opportunities to chat with locals out at restaurants, markets, and subways. In fact, many people you meet in these regions may prefer to speak English so that they can continue to improve their own language skills.
A handful of Asian countries also have very strong English skills, especially Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Interested in a Far East adventure, but are concerned about language barriers? A Singapore tour is your best bet!
Looking to embrace your language skills?
Whether you want to up your foreign language game or simply get a feel for being fully steeped in a culture outside of your own, there are plenty of benefits to visiting areas where English is less popular. In fact, research shows that the best way to work on your language skills is to immerse yourself in those communities. Latin America tours to Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, or Venezuela will all allow you to test your Spanish and Portuguese speaking skills. Interested in brushing up before an upcoming trip? Here’s your cheat sheet on a few key Spanish phrases.
The countries with the lowest English speaking proficiency scores are in the Middle East and North Africa. A trip to this region—maybe to see the Egyptian pyramids or the red-rock city of Petra—is sure to be an eye-opening and immersive experience.
Want to see the full ranking of English speaking countries? Check out the 2016 EF English Proficiency Index here. But remember—no matter where you travel with Go Ahead, your multilingual Tour Director is always on-hand to handle communication and logistics, so no destination is out of reach.
What’s your travel preference: Visiting locations where English is common, or stepping out of your comfort zone in destinations where native languages are spoken? Tell us in the comments below!