Languages…. so interesting and mysterious… always have been for me
I am one of those ‘language nerds’ who could do the grammar or vocabulary exercises just to kill time. Somehow, I always knew I would study languages but wasn’t sure which one exactly for some time.
My native language is Serbian. In school I learnt English and Russian but there were sooo many other languages to study. Fortunately, we don’t dub movies in Serbia, so I got a chance to hear different languages in the era before the internet took over.
Roman languages were my first love, especially Spanish and Italian. For some time, Chinese was very tempting as both the sound and the signs of the language were so exotic and different. On the other hand, China is so far from Serbia and at the time it didn’t seem realistic that I would ever go there.
English was always present. I attended various courses and later passed the Cambridge Proficiency exam, but it was somehow normal to learn and know it, no matter what you do.
Then I went to the final year excursion in high school. We went to Greece. This was my first time traveling, although Greece is quite near. I had a great time of course and the language and it’s alphabet started intriguing me from the very first day. So, I decided to study Greek – again, both the sound and the writing were different from any other language but also, it had its similarities.
I was lucky to get several scholarships for summer language programs in Greece, throughout my studies. I went to Athens, Thessaloniki and to the magnificent island of Kalymnos, where I have been to 5 times up till now. This was a great experience as I met people from all over the world and learnt something about their cultures and languages. I was finally speaking both Greek and English for real.
At one point, I decided to take Spanish lessons as a hobby and came up to upper-intermediate level. I am constantly planning to go back to Spanish (and Russian which I would need more for work), but for now I am happy that I can watch movies without subtitles.
I even attended a free Portuguese course, which helped me follow soup operas better, but the problem is I sometimes tend to mix it with Spanish. In 2014 I went to Spain for the first time. Wonderful Barcelona! I spent just a few days there but fell in love with the city. The problem was that I was there with the people I knew from Greece (Kalymnos) and we were all speaking Greek among ourselves. It was quite difficult to switch to Spanish when I had to communicate with local people.
In addition, it was then that I realized Catalan is so different than Spanish, it’s more similar to French! Who would have said so? I was lucky enough to be involved with the languages professionally since I graduated. For the past 9 years, I have been teaching Greek in The Hellenic Foundation for Culture in Belgrade.
This has been a very rewarding experience. However, due to various factor this is just a half-time job, so when I was offered a place in the Eszett team this was like a touch of destiny 🙂 I have been working as an Academic coordinator in Eszett for 1.5 years now. This is really something I could have never imagined before. I work with a great team, from various countries and get to communicate with people from all over the world!
I thought that I was good in Geography before, but I was clueless that a Luxembourgish is a language completely on its own and not just a dialect. I finally learnt what Afrikaans is and where it is spoken. Moreover, I learnt so much about other cultures.
I really enjoy being a part of it, as I believe languages are very important.
They say when you speak more than one language, your brain works better. I am not sure this is true (in my case) but it is still great 🙂
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