Do you see that happy girl showing a book in a strange language?
That’s me, feeling proud because I was featured in an official Basque schoolbook. All thanks to a YouTube video I posted, in which I speak Basque. I only posted it because I’d spend some time in Germany and I was afraid I’d forget everything, so I wanted to record my Basque level at the time…
I speak 8 languages now, at various levels. I use or expose myself to at least 3 different languages every day. I’m happy to call myself a language enthusiast.
But it hasn’t always been that way. I actually haven’t been interested in languages for long.
When I was 20 years old, the only languages I could speak were Greek and English.
Greek is my native language, and I learned English the ordinary way, having passed the C2 exam when I was 15. Needless to say, it took me years to learn and it was anything but free (it cost loads!)
So I thought, fine, I can communicate with my fellow countrymen using Greek, AND with the entire world using English. That’s it. I’m done with languages.
Boy, how wrong I was!
In 2011, I traveled to Spain. Only then, through endless waving, signs and all kinds of failed communication attempts, did I realize that English won’t actually get me too far. I realized I can’t communicate with the entire world using it, after all.
That didn’t encourage me to learn Spanish or any other language, though. I just thought I was super unlucky and moved on with my life.
Fast forward to Spring 2012. I go to the cinema to watch “The Women on the 6th floor” which was a French film about a couple of Spanish maids who moved in the 6th floor of a building and changed the life of a conservative French neighbor. Those maids looked so badass to me, with their Spanish, their culture, their gestures. While this sparked an interest in me to find out more about Spanish culture, I still couldn’t get round to taking up Spanish.
September 2012. I stumbled upon a language learning website. I’d heard someone say it’s a new, revolutionary method of free language learning. To this day I don’t know how I forced my procrastinating self to try it out, but I did. And the first option was to learn Spanish. So I started learning some Spanish.
After a couple of minutes, I thought this was really fun, so I decided to use it the following day… And the day after that… And every day…
That was it. I finally started learning a new language! I’ve started learning Spanish! I saw it as a serious commitment to keep at it every day, ignoring my uni classes and other obligations.
One day I decided to expose myself to more Spanish using YouTube and just about any site I could come across, and I’d also look up some grammar rules whenever I thought was necessary…
And then, it happened. I got crazy about the Spanish language and all things Spanish. I even pushed myself to finally get out of my comfort zone and find other like-minded people to speak Spanish with. I fell in love with Spanish.
Fast forward to now. My life has changed completely. Thanks to languages, I finally started travelling alone (yes, at 20 I was too afraid to do even that!), I moved to other countries, I met people I could otherwise never be able to communicate with, I gained a lot of confidence, I tried new, interesting things, I taught myself tons of new things, I got over my depression… I became a better person!
That’s more than I could ever ask!
To this day, the number of my languages keeps growing, I’m enjoying every second of the learning process, I’m happy to have life experiences in each and every one of my languages, and I really, really want to inspire you to give language learning a chance.
I sincerely hope language learning will change your life as much as it changed mine.
Thanks for reading!