You’ve had a long day out and about in a new place, exploring new things. You are tired. So you come back to your home away from home to relax. You flip on the local TV only to be reminded it’s not in English! What are you to do? Use this helpful guide, of course!
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Tip 1: Find the channel that plays old American shows. Most foreign countries have a TV channel that plays old American TV programs. Mexicans, Koreans, and Germans love MASH and Murder She Wrote as much as we did back in the day. The result is a channel full of American shows subbed in the local language. Ignore the subtitles and enjoy!
*This can be an added cultural experience for your kids! If they complain about the quality of the acting, the black and white filming, or the cheese factor remind them that this is what Grandma and Grandpa grew up watching. It can spark a good learning conversation about America’s past.
Tip 2: Seek out the drama. From Tela-novela to K, C, and J-Dramas, every country has their own version of Soap Operas. This is great for the tired traveler looking to relax and unwind. You can read the body language even when you can’t understand the words. Slapping a person’s face is a universal sign of a character wronged. You can even turn it into a game. Count the number of slaps, indignant poses, and dramatic entrances or exits then fill in the blanks with what you think they are saying. By the end of the show, you might have picked up some local phrases.
*You can also use this tip to watch animated shows as well. Characters are often over-dramatized in cartoons, sometimes to the point of not needing words. Thus they are great to watch.
Tip 3: When in doubt, flip! This is the universally accepted behavior when there is “nothing” on. Or in this case, when English is in short supply. It is relaxing to use the TV remote to flip channels. If you don’t stay on a channel more than a few seconds, you don’t really need to know what’s being said. If you are traveling with kids it can also lead to a fun moment of “I was watching that” when no one was or “go back” because someone noticed one of the watchable programs above. Who knows? In all that flipping you might even find a channel with English subtitles!
*The important thing to remember is to stay courteous. You don’t want a fight over the remote. That takes the relaxation right out of any TV watching.
There will be something worth watching no matter what country you find yourself in. Stop worrying. You’re covered.