In my whole school life, I’ve alway loved learning languages and hoped that one day I become a flight attendant. That didn’t happen of course but being able to communicate with others in their language brings much satisfaction to one. You don’t have to be fluent, but enough to get by is good enough.
As a first generation Australian born Chinese person, I attended Chinese school every Saturday for a number of years (sometimes both Saturday and Sunday!). I quit at the age of 13 as I didn’t feel motivated at the time and had stronger desire to learn something else. My parents asked me whether I was sure as I could regret it as I grow older, but I know it isn’t too late to it start again and since my grades weren’t too good.. it would’ve saved them some money! During that time, I really enjoyed Japanese and Indonesian culture and took that up until I finished high school. Don’t get me wrong but I loved Chinese school because of my friends but I just wasn’t into my own culture. It’s like being Australian and not visiting the whole of Australia because I live there. That’s what learning Chinese felt like. It’s just not that fascinating because I am already Chinese. I took it for granted if that makes sense. Shame on me.
I started learning Indonesian at school when I was 12 years old and absolutely loved how easy it was! Indonesia was also Australia’s closest countries and I actually enjoyed the language first and then the culture. We did some Indonesian cooking classes, watched an Indonesian movies and did role plays in Indonesian. Learning was so fun and that first good experienced set my heart to continue learning Bahasa Indonesia.
As for Japanese there was a trend at school – watching Anime. I spent so many hours watching Japanese movies that I figured Japanese would be more useful than Chinese to me and that’s when I decided I needed to substitute my Chinese classes with Japanese. The language was fun to learn and the culture is very interesting from traditional to modern Japan.
I tried to make the most of my L.O.T.E studies and wrote to many Japanese pen pals every week, practise Indonesian with my Indo-chinese friend and participated in writing competitions as well as did exchange in Japan and Singapore.
Having such experience made my education deeper and put to good use. Every step of the way of my L.O.T.E studies brought me closer to others and the world. I formed a lot of good and lasting friendship from around the world whom some am still in contact with and got to experience local life. Memories are forever. The world is so great!
After high school, university and work got busy and I started to forget my Indonesian and Japanese. They no longer became as relavant in my life.
I have a mobile app business and globalisation is key to good business in that industry. I am very motivated to learn the languages of the countries I plan to live in. At least enough to get by. This Friday, my fiance and I leave to Singapore and will be working our way up to China via Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Along the way, I’ll be teaching myself Thai and brushing up my Malay (well Indonesian, close enough!). I also hope to learn Vietnamese as my family came from there.
Also, I am now very motivated to learn Chinese as it is widely used and Hong Kong and Taiwan is one of the top Android users! I plan to live in China in the near future and study Chinese and hopefully make my parents proud 🙂
I can only speak English and Cantonese for now but it’s never too late!!
How many languages can you speak and what do you love most about learning a language?