Travelling abroad offers you a lot of good things. First, it exposes you to cultures and helps you become more sensitive. Second, there is more to life than seeing what you have in your hometown. And third, it makes you appreciate the interconnectedness of the world—that despite major differences, there are still similarities to marvel at.

The last statement is something that you can accomplish by talking to the locals. But some have this fear of interacting because of fear of offending them. If you are looking for something that will help you make your travel much easier, here are some things that you can keep in mind.

Read up on their culture

Before you go on talking to the locals, you should know the basics of their customs and traditions. That way, you will keep yourself from offending them unintentionally. Other than people-watching and observing, you can read up on manuals and the like. You can read their local papers or better yet, watch their TV shows and commercials—these materials can introduce you to some of the locals’ particular nuances and activities.

Know the language

Break the ice by showing that you can speak the basics of their language. Greeting them in their language can help them warm up to you to the point that striking a conversation will not be a problem. At first, gauge if the person can speak English so that you can sustain the conversation in a language that both of you know.

Be courteous

It is important that you are courteous so that striking up a conversation will be easy. Stay nice and smile often. You will be surprised by the effects of your humility. A local that has become fond of you can even point you to the best places to go around Singapore.

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These are just some of the things that you can do when meeting locals. Have a laugh or two with them; that’s when you realise that everyone is after the same thing: friendship and connection.