Moving to a new country as an expat is a thrilling adventure filled with new experiences, and a chance to immerse oneself in a different culture.

One of the keys to making the most of this experience is being able to connect with the locals. Communication, even if limited, can be a powerful tool in bridging the gap and building new relationships. Here, we explore the magic of just a few words in the language of your host country and how it can break the ice with the locals.

Communication, even if limited will

Demonstrate Respect and Interest

Speaking a few words in the local language shows that you respect the culture and are interested in understanding and engaging with the community. Locals will appreciate the effort you put into learning their language, no matter how small or basic the phrases may be. It demonstrates that you are willing to  step out of your comfort zone and embrace their way of life.

Foster Connection and Understanding

Language is a fundamental part of human interaction and connection. Even a simple “hello”, “thank you”, or “excuse me” in the local language can go a long way in breaking doen barriers and encouraging understanding. It immediately will enhance your overall experience in the host country.

Encourage Friendships and Relationships

The effort to speak the local language, even in a basic form, can help you form connections and friendships more easily. Locals often appreciate your attempt to communicate in their language, and it can be a conversation starter. It opens the door for them to help you improve your language skills, fostering deeper relationships and friendships.

Facilitate every day interactions

Knowing a few key phrases in the local language makes everyday tasks and interactions smoother. Whether it’s ordering food at a local restaurant, asking for directions, or buying groceries, using the host country’s language shows that you are willing to adapt and engage in the local community. It can lead to more positive and helpful responses from the locals.

Empower cultural exchange

Breaking the language barrier through a few simple words can encourage a mutual exchange of cultures. You’ll find that locals often appreciate teaching you more about their language and culture, leading to rich and enlightening conversations. This can enhance your understanding of the host country and its people on a deeper level.

Boost confidence and integration

Every time you use a few words in the host country’s language, and recieve a positive response, your confidence grows. This increased confidence motivates you to learn more and engage further with the community. Over time, this integration becomes a cornerstone of your expat experience, enriching your life abroad.


While learning a whole language may seem daunting, a few well-chosen words in the host country’s language can work wonders in establishing connections. So, take a step forward, utter those few words,and witness the magic as you break the ice and connect with the people in your host country, in this case The Netherlands.


Do you want to practise the Dutch language in a fun way? Hello Haarlem can help you with that! Fill in the contact form for more info.