Oftentimes, this is a challenge for non-native speakers, not just because of language issues but because small talk can be very rare in their culture. In some countries, it's common to stay reserved and not ask too many questions to someone you don't really know.
In Seattle, where I live, people are very friendly and talkative all the time, so small talk is very common and necessary. Sometimes when I'm shopping, waiting for my coffee, or even crossing the street, I have to be prepared to engage in some small talk!
But be careful, small talk doesn't mean you could say or ask anything. Don't talk about overly personal topics such as, death, religion, money etc
Here are some common small talk topics:
-Weather (Can you believe it's still raining?)
-What's going on with them (How's your day been?)
-Upcoming plans (Any plans for Christmas?)
-A compliment (Nice shoes!)
-Current events (Did you hear about....)
Watch this interesting clip here on the importance of small talk. Is your culture a coconut or a peach?