We all have heard about learning a second language. We have also heard that it is ideal for our future or our careers. However, many of us do not get or see the benefits right away.
Learning a second language is a slow process, or at least it was to me. I am an ESL/EFL teacher. I have been an English teacher for almost twenty years, and it took me a long way to get where I am right now. For all of you who do not know what ESL/EFL means. It means that a person (teacher) teaches how to speak to other people who do not use this language. My native language is Italian. I was born in Pizza, Italy. Nobody taught me how to speak English. I learned on my own. Since it was easy for me, I decided to teach English as a second language, so I prepared myself to become an educator. I went to college, and I did many courses, and I got many certificates to show that I could teach a language that was not my own.
Why is this all connected? Simple! The only thing that has helped me through my life has been speaking at least a second language. When we go to elementary and high school, they make us believe that they are teaching a second language, but that is just a requirement for that particular school to justify their academic plan. Are we learning? Not really! How can we make progress then? Well, the simple answer is by ourselves. Do we need a teacher? No, we do not. Do we want a teacher? Absolutely. Learning the hard way is not ideal. If you find a person who can help you overcome those mistakes, it is a blessing. You do not have to guess or start from scratch so often.
How can you apply everything you have just read? I learned English like most people, by getting in touch with the culture, one way or another. We are surrounded by American movies and TV shows, and we learn from them directly or indirectly. We listen to foreign music, and we even learn lyrics by heart. It is the first step into learning a new language. Seeing things with our eyes might spark curiosity about other languages and other cultures. Challenging ourselves into appreciating everything this planet has to offer in terms of culture and education is always a way to achieve something better in life.
Now that I am a teacher, I see myself in many of my students. Some of them want to learn as fast as they can. Others will take their time, and just a few are only filling a requirement. However, and whatever your real need is, the outcome is always the same. We are learning a second language because we want something else in life. We want an opportunity. We want a second chance at a chance we had many years ago, and we let go.
In conclusion, Learning something new is always a good thing. We cannot pretend we are alone on this planet. Eventually, we will need to contact someone from the outside world, and then it will be the perfect moment to see that we need more than is shown in front of us. Who knows, maybe our happiness is in an entirely different country, and we are restraining ourselves from that opportunity.