There is a lot of talk about languages. And for me this is an area of great importance because it helps in many different ways. I will start with the Social Benefits.
Because I learnt English at a small age I have always taken it for granted. But the truth is that for studies and for relations abroad English is mandatory; and I am not only saying that to come to study to the UK you need English. I am saying that if you want to have a full social life in Europe you need English.
English is said to be the language of business, but because it is what most people try to learn to prepare for the âreal worldâ than it becomes a common language that simplifies conditions, but this does not guaranty communication.
Letâs take the example of my exchange to Valencia, Spain. I was very confident because I was going to a Spanish speaking country and had my English, but I also counted with Portuguese that I learnt when I finished school and took an intensive one month course of French because I liked the language and heard that traveling in France was not as simple without the language. So I got to Valencia and on the third day I took a train to Tour, France. It was a long journey that started with a train that took me to France and there I took another to the centre of the country to take the last one that reached Tours. Well without the month of French that I took I would have stayed in one of those stations waiting because nobody spoke other languages, or didnât want to speak, and the changes were very fast and required walking long distances within the station.
So for traveling in France the language is pretty important, but studying in Valencia this should be different, right? Wrong.
When I went to the induction meeting the person responsible gave the instructions in Spanish and half of the students ended with a blank expression so she asked if it was necessary to repeat in English and a huge positive response made her explain in English. But there was a girl with big blue eyes besides me that had tearful eyes, so is asked her âÂ¿Entendiste?â and there was no answer so I asked again âDid you understand?â and she just stared at me so I asked âEs-ce-que tu as compris?â and she immediately responded âNon!!!!â
To make the story short she became one of my roommates and did not speak neither Spanish nor English so French was the norm for the first couple of month which was not ideal with my low level. Another or my flatmates was Finnish and our communication was in English, and the last roommate was Spanish and only spoke Spanish. As you can imagine my life became translations, especially during dinner when I had to explain every idea to each one in their language of choice.
As you may see, for me languages are very important. Not only will you enjoy with accents and expressions that are always tricky but also you might even need then to live with your new family.