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Languages – The Key to other Cultures

Yesterday, I had talked to one of my colleagues about learning languages because she wants to start an arabic course. She already speaks 7 languages fluently but those are just European languages. So arabic is quite a challenge, even for her!

Last week, I started a spanish course myself because I really like spanish and studied it already 3 years in school but forgot basically all of it in the following 8 years… Now I am back on the track and I absolutely love it! The class is great! Many international students from different European countries and lots of opportunities to speak spanish!

But why do I want to study spanish or why does my colleague want to learn arabic? The reason for that has to do with our interest in traveling and other cultures. It is nice to travel but not speaking the language of the inhabitants can become a challenge. Being able to communicate with them does not only help you finding your way around but it also gives you the key to the other culture. Communicating with native speakers and inhabitants makes it possible to see the other side of the coin – not just the touristy side of the destination. You will get to know so much more such as the history, the habits and rituals of the other culture! For me traveling is more than just spending time in a hotel and at a beach surrounded by other Germans. When I travel I also don’t want to eat German food. I want to taste the local food and I want to know the way of living and the culture of the people living at a certain destination! I just want to have the whole experience!

Without speaking the other language, that is kind of impossible! Moreover, I think that learning each others languages brings us all closer together. We understand each other better and that makes life so much easier. I am always honoured when I talk to a foreign person and this person tries to speak German. Even if it might not be perfect, but the effort this person makes to communicate with me is great! It is not important how perfect your language skills are. As long as other people are able to understand you that is fine!

When I was younger I was always to shy to speak other languages because I was afraid to make a mistake but after a while I realised that I would never laugh about someone who tries to communicate with me in German. It would never occur to me to make fun of this person if I would know that German is not his or her first language!

What I want to say with all of this is, if you can, try to learn as many languages as possible! It opens new parts of the world to you! There are so many ways to study languages. Just pick which one is the best for you and you will see, it is actually fun – especially when you start using the language around foreign people! It also does not matter which language you learn as long as you are interested. Even if only a very small part of the world’s population speaks the language, that is fine! It still enriches your life in a fantastic way!

My ability to speak english already opened a big part of the world to me! Without english I would not live and work in London and I would have never met so many lovely people!!! I am glad that I am able to experience this!

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