Megan Fernandes shares her story with us below. Feel free to share this with your students as food for thought over their holiday period and remind them of the pleasure of language learning as well as the immense benefits.
It all started in high school where I first developed my love for languages. I took French and Mandarin, and went on to continue with French until year 13. Learning another language opened up a new exciting world for me, a world where it was possible to speak with locals and get to know the true French culture. In 2011 I first visited France for a few days. In that time I fell in love with the country and the culture, I knew I had to go back but the next time be more fluent! So I worked hard at my French and the next year I went on an exchange to the South of France for 6 months. The exchange allowed me to experience a whole other culture and not just from a tourist point of view but by becoming one of the locals. My French improved drastically as there was no one there to speak English with and I made many friends. It was truly an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life.
I love how learning languages opens up the doors to so many opportunities and unique experiences. I am currently working on learning Spanish and German. The feeling I get when I hear someone speaking in their own language in which I can understand, excites me and makes me want to go up to them and start a conversation. There are countless benefits of learning languages but one I find the most enjoyable is connecting to people. Learning another language allows you to extend beyond your current circle and make connections with all types of people. Through my language-learning journey, I have made friends with people all around the world and hope to continue this as my journey continues!