Just recently, I finished my first level of French-at Alliance Française (I highly recommend it)- and I can honestly say, it has been one of the best learning experiences of my life! The ability to start something from zero, and work your way up till you know something, requires perseverance and tremendous patience- two things,I believed I lacked! But, when I cleared my exam, I knew for a fact that I would continue onto the next level! Sure, there were some moments of self doubt, but the they all vanished the moment I started getting things right!
So,here are some things that may happen to someone learning a new language:-
Your initial fear of stepping out of your comfort zone changes.
When you pick up a foreign language- you aren’t just learning a new system of ABC’s, you’re learning about different cultures and the lifestyles of people. So, regardless of your initial apprehensions, you are bound by curiosity- the same curiosity that allows you to explore a side of you that you didn’t know existed, or one you hadn’t seen of since your school and college years. Your interest is backed by the fact that you’re learning this language, and given an opportunity to visit or work- you’d practically have no problem surviving!
You end up meeting people from all walks of life! For example- my class comprised students who’d just cleared the 10th Standard Board exams,an entrepreneur, a couple of twenty something married engineers, and even a retired army colonel! But, your status doesn’t matter, because you are all beginners- you all fail and fall, but that’s okay, because it’s a comfortable enough environment to laugh about it. You share experiences and stories, and that enhances you as a person, some way or another.
Exams scare you.
Like it normally does- this part of the language learning experience scares you. And you know what? It’s completely alright-because your fear is derived from the fact that what you’re dealing with is still a little unknown to you. But, as long as you have fun with it- you’ll make it through. Just hang in there, and don’t worry about having stammered here and there- because the whole point of the exam is to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, so they can be successfully modified.
You begin to feel a certain sense of confidence.
I was really surprised when my confidence- and general swagger, if you will- really started boosting. And not just about French related things, even about life as a whole. It’s a strange feeling of knowing something- a different way of thinking and communicating- that not a lot of people know. I found myself irritating my friends, by speaking unnecessary French, all the time, everywhere! And guess what- I make no apologies!
Grammar (smh so much right now).
Don’t get me wrong, learning a language is delightful. The grammar part, though, not so much. And, yes, correct grammatical sense is a big part of language learning- I know that- but after a little while, it gets exhausting. Also, a quick tip- DO NOT MISS CLASS, EVER. Because, chances are you’ll end up missing a grammar lesson and the next thing you know, is that all you’ve ever known has changed- and believe you me when I say, you don’t want to have to deal with that!
A sense of achievement.
After having strived hard for months together,when you’re handed your result- your very own story of success- you’re ecstatic! You feel awfully great about the fact that, despite a couple of bad days, you made it through! You realize how when you first enrolled- your intention was being able to speak, and months later-Vous pouvez parler une nouvelle langue! Félications!
Be proud of yourself, and go enroll for the next level! I know, I plan to!