Let’s be honest: the best part of studying abroad is trying out new food. Studying abroad is a great opportunity, whether the language of the country is your major or you just want a change of scenery, but probably the biggest perk of studying abroad is expanding your personal palate.
The U.S. News & World Report published a map displaying data from 2013 to 2014 of the 10 Top Destinations for U.S. Students Studying Abroad. Based on these top 10 countries, here’s a list of common phrases people say in restaurants in those languages, so that you can order that dish in the native tongue:
1. United Kingdom – English
Although they do speak English in the UK, keep in mind that there are many dialects of the English language spoken there, so it may not be as easy as you may think to communicate. Here are a few of those dialects and their characteristics.
Also, keep in mind that some of the words we use in the states do not have the same meaning in the UK, like chips are actually french fries, an aubergine is an eggplant, and white coffee is coffee with milk. Check this out for other important phrases you should know when visiting the UK.
2. Italy – Italian
A table for… (2, 3, 4…) please. = Posso avere un tavolo per (due, tre, quattro…) personne per favore?
What do you recommend? = Cosa mi considerà?
I would like to try…/Can I order…? = Vorrei provare…/Posso ordinare…?
Waiter! = Cameriere!
Could I have…? (water, a knife, a fork…) = Posso avere… (acqua, un coltello, una forchetta…)
Thank you, that was delicious. = Grazie, era buonissimo.
Could we have the bill, please? = Posso avere il conto, grazie.
3. Spain – Castilian Spanish
Refer to Spanish (Costa Rica). For common phrases you may hear specifically in Spain, go here.
4. France – French
A table for… (2, 3, 4…) please. = Un table pour (deux, trois, quatre…) s’il vous plaît.
What do you recommend? = Qu’est ce que vous me conseillez?
I’ll have…/ I would like…. = Je vais vous prendre…/Je voudrais…
Excuse me! = S’il vous plaît!
Could we have…please? = On pourrait avoir de… s’il vous plaît?
Thank you, that was delicious! = Meci, c’était délicieux!
Could we have the bill, please? = On peut avoir l’addition, s’il vous plaît.
5. China – Mandarin Chinese
A table for… (2, 3, 4…) please. = Liǎng wèi, sān wèi, sì wèi, xièxiè. (两位，三位，四位，谢谢。)
Which do you think is better? = Nǐ juédé nǎ yīgè hǎo? (你觉得哪一个好？)
I want… = Wǒ xiǎng yào… (我想要。。。)
Excuse me! = Dǎrǎo yīxià. (打扰一下)
Could we have…? = Wǒ xiǎng yào… (我想要。。。)
Thank you, that was delicious! = Xièxiè, hěn hào chī. (谢谢，很好吃)
Could we have the bill, please? = Mǎidān, xièxiè. (买单，谢谢。)
6. Germany – German
A table for… (3, 4…) please. = Ein tisch fūr drei, vier, bitte.
What do you recommend? = Was wūrden sie mir rekommandieren?
I’ll have…/ I would like…. = Ich bekomme…/Kann ich bitte…
Excuse me! = Entschuldigung, bitte.
Could I have…? = Kann ich… haben?
Thank you, that was delicious. = Danke, das war sehr lecker.
Could we have the bill, please? = Kōnnen wir bitte den check haben?
7. Ireland – Irish Gaelic
Generally, you won’t hear Irish Gaelic unless you’re in a very rural part of Ireland. If you are in the more urban places, refer to English (United Kingdom).
If you’re curious about Irish Gaelic phrases you may hear, check this out.
8. Costa Rica – Spanish
A table for (2, 3, 4…) please. = Mesa para (dos, tres, quatro) por favor.
What do you recommend? = ¿Qué nos recomienda?
I’ll have…/ I would like…. = Quiero…/¿Puede darme…?
Excuse me! = ¡Camarero!/¡Mesero!/Disculpa…
Could I have (some)…? = ¿Me puede dar (un poco de)….?
Thank you, that was delicious! = Gracias, eso estaba delicioso!
Could we have the bill, please? = La cuenta, por favor./Por favor tráigame la cuenta.
9. Australia – English
Like the UK, Australia has a distinct accent that can make understanding their English difficult, and like any other country, they have their own slang when it comes to food.
You could hear someone say Adam’s ale and not realize they’re actually referring to water, or you can get excited when you hear someone mention a brownie and not realize that they’re actually talking about beer. Check out this list for more Australian food terms.
10. Japan – Japanese
What do you recommend? = Osusume hin wa nan desu ka?
I’ll have/ I would like…. = O kudasai…/O onegaishimasu…
Thank you for the food! = Gochisō-sama
The bill, please. = Okanjō o onegaishimasu.
Whether you are enjoying a delicious dinner with the Eiffel Tower as a view or finished your sight-seeing in Japan and need to take a lunch break, you should feel confident when you’re ordering your meal.