“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart” (Nelson Mandela).
Living abroad to study a new, unknown language is an unforgettable experience. Many can travel, but the majority either attempt to get by on the (not always present) safety net of English, or else spit out a few badly pronounced phrases and cross their fingers. Fine, but what happens if you need to do business in another country? How about connecting with the people? Many years ago I came to the realization that a culture and its language are inseparable. Why? Because language is an expression of the thoughts, hopes, happiness and sorrow, dreams and fears of a certain group of people. And each culture has its own way of interpreting these things. To really know someone, you must also know their language. It’s that simple. And what doors can be opened with this key! What new friendships, unforgettable journeys, treasured moments, art, food, feelings, remain forever hidden to those who don’t possess the key! Why is that child crying? What ancient memories does that old lady want to share with you? And does the person who is smiling at you from across the room want to tell you something? Only those who have the key can know the answer to these questions, and many more.
In addition to this unique insight gained by the knowledge of another language, imagine the boost for work and study opportunities. In an ever more globalized society, one language is no longer enough. Travel is easier than ever. The internet connects people around the world in fragments of seconds and the markets of the world are interlaced like never before. Learning one of the world’s major languages creates almost infinite possibilities for education and the labour market. And people have more trust in those who speak their language. There is no better way to express this than in Mr Mandela’s own words, and the key is waiting for you. What are you waiting for?