A mind for travel—where languages can take you

A mind for travel—where languages can take you

Do you dream of living abroad? Of listening to people talking in their native language and being able to casually insert yourself into their conversation, taking them by surprise? Then this blog post about my experiences travelling and learning three languages is for you!

 

View of the Eiffel Tower from Pont Alexandre III, from my time living in Paris

As someone who had always dreamed of travelling, the idea of studying multiple languages at university seemed like an incredible, yet daunting idea. After studying French in high school, then living in Paris where I taught English for six months, I fell in love with the language and decided to continue studying French at university. I then thought, why not study Italian too?! I quickly realised that studying two languages was clearly not enough, so I picked up Spanish as well (this was actually due to wanting to understand some great Spanish TV series I’d discovered on Netflix!).

My experience learning languages at university has far exceeded my expectations. The lectures are fascinating and often go beyond the language. During my Spanish courses, I’ve not only learnt Spanish, but I’ve also learnt about the people, food, music, customs and culture of Spain and Latin America! The tutorials are also a chance for people to get out of their comfort zones and practise speaking in the language they are hoping to become fluent in.

View from the Centre Pompidou, from my time living in Paris

Learning three languages is not always a walk in the park. They can often get very mixed up, as it turns out that some languages have almost identical words (like tiempo in Spanish and tempo in Italian)! Like anything, it can be a fun, exciting experience if you truly love it, but also like pulling teeth if you discover you’re not that passionate about it. I would encourage you to continue learning languages, as there is nothing more rewarding than being able to finally converse with a local in their native language.

After I finish university, I can’t wait to go back to Europe and test out my language skills with the locals. After all, you get to a point where you can’t improve any further without visiting the country and immersing yourself with the locals. My high school French was a whole different ball game to what I learnt when living in France – you really find out which words you’ll need more than others!

So go, study languages at Victoria University, because as cliché as it sounds, you’ll not only learn a new language, but you’ll also be transported to a whole different country where you’ll discover more about the wonderful people that live there, and how they spend their days.

Katherine Munro is a third-year arts student studying French, Italian and Spanish.

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