The term "ugly American" refers to Americans who travel abroad and demonstrate a superior attitude toward the citizens and the culture of the country in which they are traveling. This is shown by an impatience with persons who do not speak English. In other nations, it is common for many of the general population to speak multiple languages.
Learning a foreign language is one of the most valuable assets people can acquire. Traveling abroad is a more rewarding experience if one is able to converse with the locals. The ability to communicate with foreigners, within certain professions, can be very beneficial to one's career. Knowing a second language can also be useful in many everyday situations.
Traveling abroad, with the ability to understand another language, provides a rich experience, giving insight into the lives and cultures of others. Travel can be made much more convenient and enjoyable if one can converse with the country-men.
If, while in Paris, a suave monsieur says to you, "Mademoiselle, vous etes tres belle," it would be very beneficial to know to say "Merci beaucoup, vous etes tres gentil." Traveling without the knowledge of how to ask for directions, order from a menu, or book a tour would be an inconvenience. Truly the greatest benefit of traveling with the knowledge to converse in another language is the ability to hear life's stories. Listening to an elderly man's story of the freeing of the prisoners at Auschwitz, or the falling of the Berlin Wall, or just the life of a Caribbean islander is an eye-opening experience.
Being bi- or multi-lingual is a very attractive quality to many employers. Most companies would prefer to hire employees who can speak with non-English-speaking clients. Occupations in many noble fields, such as education, social work, and medical...