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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor
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Language barrier complicates travel

While I sat in Madame Lumeya’s French I class last fall, I often wondered: “will I ever use this in life?” What seemed pointless at the time proved indispensable. After walking the streets of Paris in June, I ordered a cream cone in shaky French and asked for specific things in a street market, I realized, “Wow, I’m sure glad I paid attention!”

Although language study may seem monotonous and useless, the skills and principles learned often benefit later experiences.

Previous to this summer, I had traveled to France several times. After I learned to speak and read French, however, the knowledge accumulated in the classroom made this trip special.

It felt wonderful to look at the street signs in front of an ancient castle, that read pique-nique, and understand the “no picknicking” warning as easy as I would in English. I seemed to fade into the culture; knowing even the simplest words helped me experience France in a new way.

There is something special, at least for me, in hearing a slew of beautiful French and being able to pick out a few words. While at first I felt totally lost, I learned to remember lessons from my French book and apply them to my foreign surroundings.

While visiting a small village in the south of France, I stopped in at a bakery
to buy lunch. The lady behind the counter spoke no English and I wracked my mind for the right words.

After I managed to communicate my message, I felt proud when I was able to really interact and function with words that sound like gibberish to me, but mean something to others.

I gradually began to melt into the background, to feel at home in another culture. This widened my perspective and helped me realize that the world is not limited to what I do on a daily basis.

I have a greater appreciation for exchange students from Korea, China, Indonesia and Vietnam and the struggles they encounter daily to integrate into a foreign environment.

So although we dread sounding ridiculous singing a song about South American city capitols in Spanish, that knowledge makes us aware of other people, other places and other experiences that make our world a more exciting and varied place.

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    Jenn BoudreauNov 15, 2009 at 6:47 am

    I love the expression on Tyler’s face!

    Reply