When learning a new language, it is quite easy to think of it as a personal voyage. You may think “I am learning this language so that I can improve my life, to expand my horizons and so that I can travel the world more freely.” Whilst this is all true, and yes, it is possibly the main underlying idea behind why we learn new languages and most recently, English, as it has become The World’s global language, however there is more to learning a language than you may think.
When we travel to other countries in order to learn new languages and in the case of students coming to Oxford English Academy, to learn English, (whether it be in Cape Town, Oxford or one of our many other campuses around the World) we also travel into a new society, a new culture and an entirely different way of living life. This means that there is so much more to learn than just a language and on the other hand, so much that you can impart on people too.
One thing that is often forgotten, though, is what we bring with us when we travel and I’m not talking about luggage. The World has become a much more tolerant and peaceful place in modern times due to the fact that we are, more or less, able to travel where we like and in doing so, have shared our cultures, customs, mannerisms and different ways of life with each other.
We have an understanding of how other people think and act in different social situations because of the way in which we travel nowadays and we are able to accept other people’s customs and traditions with ease as a result.
When we learn a new language and when we engage with other people that are doing so, whether it be a school environment or otherwise, we share so much with each other and we all grow, not only into better English speakers, but also into better people as we are able to give to others our own knowledge and experience and take from them theirs.