When I first started blogging I didn’t realize how big a part of my life is focused on learning a foreign language. So much so, that I never even thought about writing about it because it was just so much a part of my everyday life that it seemed like everyone was like me and this wouldn’t be anything special… until yesterday!
I had the chance to reconnect with my high school German teacher over dinner with her family, last night. It was the first time we saw each other since I graduated – so almost 2 years! I’m up at college and she, her husband, and son, were in the area so they invited me to dinner and it was absolutely so nice to talk to her after so long. It made me realize not only that reconnecting with past friends/acquaintances can be such a great thing, but it made me realize how special it was to even start learning a foreign language. If I didn’t have the desire to start learning German, I never would have met her, and she wouldn’t have been my teacher for 5 years!
I started taking German in 8th grade, and have continued it through high school, and I’m now minoring in it at college. Its been a big part of my life for almost 7 years and its been such a fun journey.
And thats right… a journey. Emotionally, mentally, and physically! Learning a foreign language has its ups and downs, good days and bad days. Somedays sitting in class I participate all the time, am asking questions, and am on top of my game. Other days, I can’t come up with right words, I feel lost, and I feel defeated. Learning a new language is tough! It takes a lot of time and work, and a lot of dedication. It can be a trying time, and you learn so much about yourself while going through it all. You’re not going to understand everything at once. And sometimes things will just “click” and you’ll understand it! But you will learn something new, every day you practice.
Learning a foreign language is also a physical journey; it can take you to beautiful places around the world. After I graduated high school my parents got me the ultimate gift: a trip to Germany! After learning the language for over 5 years, it was amazing to finally go to the country to immerse myself in their culture, learn more about the country and practice my language-speaking skills. I plan to go back as soon as I have the opportunity too!
Below are a few pictures of my trip to Germany!
One thing I wish that we did in the States, is start teaching a second language in elementary school. Some schools do it, but it is not mandatory (or at least wasn’t when I was in elementary school). I know that learning a new language isn’t for everyone, but I think it is so important to expose people to new languages and cultures because it can teach you so much about life and the way the world works! If you’ve ever had the desire to start learning another language, I would say, DO IT! You will be exposed to so many beautiful new things.
Have you learned a second language? How about a third? What has your experience been like? Let me know in the comments below!