Lewis & Clark students share their experiences on campus and abroad
05 November 2013
studying abroad is hard sometimes
So, I’ve figured it out. The hardest part about learning a foreign language while surrounded by native speakers is when they make jokes and you can’t for the life of you understand what the joke was. They burst out laughing and you either pretend you understood the joke and laugh along or just look around and try and enjoy the fact that people find something funny even though you have no idea what was just said. I don’t know if you have ever been in a room before where everyone else is laughing but you. And you have no idea why they are laughing. Obviously a joke was made, and it was funny. But you didn’t understand the joke because you are still learning the language. And either route you take can get you into trouble. If you laugh and then they ask you oh you understood the joke? You kind of have to fess up and admit you didn’t actually understand, but then you kind of look like a fool for laughing. Or you are the only one in the room not laughing and people might look at you and wonder why you are finding whatever was just said not funny. Also a large part of making friends, I think is finding people with the same sense of humor as you. And when you can’t make, or understand jokes, how are you supposed to make friends?
I know it all comes in time, and every joke I somewhat understand I give myself a pat on the back and smile at that small success. However, in the meantime it’s just a bit frustrating.
“Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?” ― Melina Marchetta
I just keep reminding myself that it all comes in time. I have lost my whole self for a while because I can’t completely express my entire person in a language I am just learning. I essentially have no language at the moment. It’s hard, however once I am able to fully communicate in German, I will have gained a new part of my self that I have never known before. And that’s really exciting