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How learning a language helped me become a passionate traveler

Written by Stavroula Aktypi

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My language learning experience started when I turned 3 years old, in kindergarten. Of course at that age, I didn’t understand why I should learn another language. Communicating with the people around me in Spanish was enough. However, it was mandatory so I didn’t have a choice. Surprisingly, I started learning it super fast, mostly because we had English classes every day, from pre-school until high-school. 

Sadly, my language learning experience with French was quite different. My family and friends were just telling me it was useless to learn. Only as a teen, I realized I lost the opportunity to learn such an amazing language.

The first time I could actually use it was when, for the first time, I went on a holiday with my parents to an English speaking country (Canada), and I was more than happy to finally put my English skills in practice. The feeling of being able to communicate with people from a foreign land was truly amazing. Personally, I think that was the breaking point because I realized that I could use this language to talk with almost everyone all around the world, study abroad, find a job, and much more. This pushed me to try and learn every time more about it and also to improve my pronunciation and vocabulary.

Sadly, my language learning experience with French was quite different. I also started learning this language at school, this time when I was 5 years old. However, with this one, I didn’t have any motivation from anyone, apart from the french teachers. My family and friends were just telling me it was useless to learn it because it is spoken in a few countries only. I spent just one hour a week in school and we use this hour as a “break” with my friends. Not proud of this. After 16 I just regretted that I lost the opportunity to learn such an amazing language. Now that I experienced a semester abroad in Finland and I made so many french-speaking friends, I was having this thought in my mind – what if I could have had the chance to talk with them in their mother tongue. However, I’m now looking forward to remembering what I knew and learn it again.

Written by Romina Lara– Student Language Ambassador

If you’re a language teacher dedicated to inspiring others, check out our Language Ambassador Programme.

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