The other day I was sitting down drinking some wine with her father or “papa” as her and her sister call him. We had been taking about various things such as looking for a job, moving to a new country and then language came up. Like me, her father is from another place and moved to Sweden when he was just a little younger than I am now. He is originally from Morocco however he has traveled to a few other countries before arriving here. With a few friends here he was able to live with them while he got a start in the new society. The friends he had were from his home country and this was both a good and a bad thing. Of course it was good because he had friends to talk with and a place to stay. However this also created a certain type of comfort which some people can get easily get stuck in. Being around people who speak your language allows you to live as you did before, preventing your mind to learn.
However you choose to look at this there was one thing that he told me he knew. It was actually quite simple yet so easily looked passed in many areas around the world including the States. Language is a key which opens the door to new possibilities. He knew that it was up to him to learn Swedish and he knew it was essential. I know that there are many people who already know this, however over the past three or so years that same thought has hovered above my head only to be brought to the front of my attention the moment he explained this. Now in my situation with living in a new country it couldn’t be any more apparent. Language isn’t just a key to getting you around the place you call home but rather the key which takes you from your house and into the unknown.
In today’s age not only has Internet allowed us a new path to communicating around the world but also the price and availability of flying makes traveling closer to our fingertips than it was only a decade ago. The flight to Sweden was only about 13 hours total between my two flights and with layovers I was here from Denver in about 20 hours. That means that I can dedicate one day of my life to get around the world and be in a completely different culture. It sounds so small and obvious but when you actually sit and think about how amazing that is it can blow you away; I know it does me. You can spend the money for a ticket, you can travel the globe, but you can’t pay for the countless new friendships you can make speaking a different language.
Now I don’t think most people will be motivated to pick up a copy of Rosetta Stone’s language tool to become fluent in the language of their choice, however I think it is important that people know the basics to at least one other language than the one you currently speak; her dad knows five. I know most people will think why the hell do you need more than English, yet who knows? Maybe some day you’ll meet an amazing girl from a different country and want to follow her to her country. Or it could be as simple as wanting to retire on a beach house in Spain so that you can eat amazing meals, see beautiful sunsets, sparkling ocean water, while spending your last days talking Spanish to wonderful people.
If there is a chance, then you need the key.