When I first moved to China, I was working in an environment where most people had at least a basic level of English. This, of course, was a blessing and a curse when trying to learn Mandarin as a complete beginner.
On one hand, it was tempting to resort to English rather than pushing myself to try to speak Mandarin as much as possible. On the other hand, it made for an incredible opportunity to hear and get feedback on my attempts to use the words or phrases I needed or wanted to learn at the time. All I had to do to get the ball rolling was to ask the question “… zhōngwén zěn me shuō?” (“How do you say… in Chinese?”). My Chinese co-workers would then suggest their preferred way of expressing whatever it was I wanted to say. In return I gave them the pleasure of watching me try to get my head and tongue around the words they taught me:-)