How I Fell In Love With Foreign Languages
Growing up, I was very shy, and kind of a nerd. This is not in the I’m-s0-smart kind of way, but rather in the my-sister-has-all-these-cds-and-vhs-tapes-in-japanese-and-they-are-so-COOL kind of way. Now, this may seem like an odd place to start this article, but quite honestly, that was my first interaction with another language and culture. Now, flash forward a couple of years to the beginning to Netflix, when I started ordering dvds of my own, and making my parents take me to the store to find things Netflix couldn’t provide. But honestly, that was my first inspiration to learn a language. Back home, we don’t take language classes until High School, so learning a language was difficult. Nevertheless, I did, at the time, manage to pick up a few words I looked up online.
Flash forward again to the eighth grade, when I knew I would have to choose a language class to take the next year. Now, I had the choice between Spanish, which in my head was out of the question because it was the class that everyone took, Italian, which never interested me much in the first place, and French, the language (in my head) of romance, art, and fashion. So I chose French, and started High school the very next year. Now, throughout my high school career, I got good grades, but I was never outstanding in any particular class. However, I got into Honors French, and always made sure I studied for every test and tried to keep up with everyone else. And by the time I graduated, I still felt like I needed to know more. And this feeling was something I didn’t feel about any other area. Then I entered college, had a fantastic university French professor, and my love for languages and French grew even more. I even picked up Spanish along the way, because hey, it’s useful, and learning languages is fun!
But as I was getting close to graduation, I couldn’t help but feel like I needed to do something crazy. It’s one thing to just learn a language, but I wanted the opportunity to talk to real people in my target languages and really experience other cultures and learn about the world. And eventually, I figured out a way I can do that, and really be useful and good at something at the same time! That way was teaching English. Now, I know sometimes there is this stigma about going abroad to teach English. There’s this prejudice from people back home at times where they think you’re just escaping the “real world” and eventually you need to come back and get a “real job”. Now, eventually, I probably will come home and get a job. But when I do, It won’t be my first “real job”. Because being a teacher IS a real job, no matter the country you do it in.
This isn’t the end though. Teaching abroad has made me realize something else I want to do while I am teaching. I want to help people. I want to share my life with the world, write, blog, vlog, photograph, whatever format I choose, and create content that will help people going through the same things, or even be a way for people to experience someone’s life, another culture, or another country from their own home. As much as I’d like to reach and help as many people as I can, I know I don’t reach many people at all. And that’s okay, because I’m having fun writing these and actually committing myself to writing on a regular basis. And let’s face it, I would continue with 0 readers as long as I enjoy what I’m doing. But to the few of you that will read this, thank you, and I hope you enjoy my ramblings.
Originally written by Erin O’Shea via www.erinelsewhere.com