Travelling and Learning Languages – my experience so far

Born and raised in Southeast Asia (Philippines), I am accustomed to hearing different dialects and languages from my family and fellow Filipinos. English and Tagalog are the official languages of the country, with English being used in school and social or business circles and Filipino/Tagalog or other vernaculars the home languages. There are hundreds of spoken languages in the Philippines and thousands of words are derived from Spanish.

Languages are fascinating

Every family in the country uses two or more vernacular languages, and we use English and Tagalog when we communicate with people from certain provinces that have their own dialects. This simply means that linguistic phenomena from both languages, as well as concepts such as bilingualism and multilingualism, are not uncommon for the Filipino experience and have been a source of enrichment to each language and to our life in general.

Multilingual people and linguistic skills

When I was a teenager, I could speak and understand English, Filipino, and 4 local dialects but I was always amazed at the skills of multilingual people and I had a burning passion to acquire skills in other languages too. I started watching foreign movies and it was then when I realized that Indonesian, Malay, Tagalog, and local dialects from my country have similarities. I travelled to India, Turkey, and some countries where the alphabets and writing styles are different from what I am familiar with. So, to understand and learn the language even at the intermediate level I practiced the strategy of listening above all. During my first few months in Turkey, I could not speak any words but I would not subscribe to the idea of wallowing in anxiety and depression. I learnt through virtual and social interaction with native Turkish speakers and to everyone’s surprise, after 6 months I could speak at the intermediate level and understand the conversation which I felt proud of.

Continuing my journey and studying other languages

It was in 2014 when I had the opportunity to travel and stay in Brazil for a longer period. Again, my first month was hard because English is not commonly spoken there, but Portuguese has lots of words that are similar to Spanish and Tagalog, which made my struggle easier. Interacting with other people is quite helpful when we are learning a new language, it organizes our thoughts and reflects our understanding. I am one those people who learn by observing as well as doing. A friend once told me that when difficulties arise learn a new skill, learn a new language. If it earns you money. Good! If it doesn’t. Still good. It will tide you over. Keep you sane.

Which school do I recommend to friends and family?

While many schools do a great job teaching students, I found that BiCortex Languages is very good! It offers a multitude of languages and has many teachers. Above all, they do face to faceonline and virtual classes.

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