After over a quarter century of being a foreigner in various countries around the world, there is one thing that I have done in each situation. I try to become a local as fast as possible.
Luckily, I learned French in high school(even though my French teacher was the epitomy of super bitch that had a problem with my preppy walking shorts....)When I went to Paris to become a model, I had a small edge over the other girls, I could understand the photgraphers and the clients easier. Over time, I found myself eating speaking and dressing like the French. I was never the ugly tourist. The French language helped me navigate through places like Morrocco, Tunisia, Syria as well as the islands of St. Barth's, Guadeloupe and Martinique. Lets face it folks, even if your French is very rudimentary, you get major Brownie points for TRYING!!!
Living in Brazil is the same thing. I took a few private lessons and then from there I just winged it. My knowledge of French helped me alot with the Portuguese grammar, but even to today, I speak with an accent. It comes in handy when I haggle street vendors. They think I am some rich American tourist( How doubly wrong they are)that has no clue about the real value of what they are selling. When I start speaking Portuguese with the Rio de Janeiro lilt, they are floored. Just from that, it is easier to talk them down to a decent price on their merchandise.
I am always looked upon as a `gringa`. Showing the locals that you speak the language (or at least are trying)makes life so much easier. You earn the best thing of all,RESPECT.