My time in Europe made me an enthusiast for languages. I admit that I used to be lazy in this aspect. Apart from Arabic (my favourite one), the act of learning a new tongue was always faced as a need. In my mind, languages were things that you have to know to be successful in life. Surely that’s one of the reasons that delayed my progress not only in English, but also in Spanish. Books seemed (and some still seem) boring, as well as websites and CDs and classes. If you have dull classmates, so, what a pain in the ass.
Quite magically, everything changed last year when I went to Ireland. The new routine brought me a new perspective. I wanted to pick up more and more to interact. First of all, I realized that the best benefit of a new language won’t be for your CV, but for you. How can you talk to people if you can’t understand them? As meeting new people was the best part of my days in Dublin, mastering my English became imperative. The best you can speak, larger will be the number of potential friends around you. I feel amazed when I imagine how many opportunities I could have lost if I haven’t studied English. My best friends wouldn’t be my friends!
The new environment also helped me to feel more confident. Soon I noticed that learning a language is easier and less painful when you are surrounded by people. As a girl who suffers from a lack of self-confidence, speaking another language might mean to be under criticism. It wasn’t easy to know that lots of friends of mine can speak English amazingly while I couldn’t keep a simple conversation just for fear. However, in a classroom with students from all over the world you notice that almost everybody has some trouble – it might be pronunciation, Grammar, a strong accent, it doesn’t matter. You’re not alone and you’re not stupid as you used to think. Things become clearer when you meet someone who’s learning your mother tongue. They possibly make some mistakes, especially in the beginning, but you don’t mind because a conversation is going on. In essence, I discovered that nobody will hate you because you sound as a non-native speaker. If you are lucky enough, you might bump into strangers who’ll help you, as it happened to me.
My trips played a part in my desire for knowledge. For the first time, I travelled to countries where I couldn’t understand even a word, like Lithuania and Slovakia. I know there are people who travel without speaking foreign languages, but it doesn’t work for me. It’s frustrating to walk along the streets and see only sets of letters on the walls, for example. English save your life more than once, but it’s not the same. Of course, I won’t grasp all the languages in the world, but I have plenty of time in life to become familiar with more two or three. I don’t need to reach fluency, but at least domain some structure and vocabulary to go to the supermarket and chat to locals when you’re strolling. In Brugge, a friendly man was trying to talk to me and other tourists there, but I don’t know more than ten words in French. In Bergamo, I couldn’t talk properly to an old man who showed me the town because of the same reason. I’ve never studied Italian, and his English was limited, so the solution was a mix of English and Italian. We created a sort of communication, but far from ideal.
At this time, back to my country, I’m decided to study as many languages as possible. My own world enlarged after my year abroad, but I dare to say that the crucial point is my new view about everything. I’m stronger than I used to think and the world is even more fascinating than in my dreams. For each language that I learn, there’ll be more countries to visit, more cultures to appreciate and more people to be connected.