Speaking English abroad
It is well known that English is the most widely used second language in the world. However, when traveling in a country where English is not the mother tongue, English may not be quite an easy thing. This was what I experienced in Russia, Cambodia, and Thailand.
The local tour guide told me that the Russians were not good at speaking English. I decided I would try to prove them wrong. I went to an underground mall in St. Petersburg to buy a doll with traditional Russian clothes. The boss, a lady in her 40s, told me about the details of the doll in Russian. I could guess her meaning roughly through her exaggerated body language. However, when I asked her a question in English, her expression appeared helpless. Then she left me alone. Fortunately, a 20-year-old college student volunteered to be our translator. At last, I bought my favorite doll. Later, he told me that he had learned English in school. He told me the elder generation did not have a chance to study it as he did. Moreover, most of them were not interested in learning English in their spare time.
In Angkor Wat, Kampuchea, you could see the kids begging for candies or cents in the scenic spots. To get these donations, they could only speak simple English words ( eg. one dollar, candy, thanks)— but they could speak those words quite well. The tourists could meet their demands on that condition. However, while I tried to communicate with them in English, they quickly ran away. They would find another group of tourists and repeat their requests in the same way.
The experience of speaking English in Thailand was the most interesting. In Chiang Mai, a province of Thailand, speaking English to the locals was almost impossible. No matter how slow I spoke, and how exaggerated I behaved, the local people just shook their heads. My best friend who has been to Chiang Mai told me that Chinese was more popular than English here. Therefore, we spoke Chinese as we did at home. Between speaking Chinese and using Alipay, we practically felt like we were traveling in China.