Right, I think it might be time to learn a new language.
During the entire length of my time in London, it has been common for me to work with a lot of Europeans.
I’ve come across lots of people from lots of different parts of the world, but as Europe is so close it has primarily been Europeans.
More recently, I’ve been travelling for work a fair bit, and spending a lot of time with said Europeans in the lead-up to the various meetings I’ve had. I can’t express how shameful it is to be surrounded by people who can not only speak two languages but more often than not, are mulit-lingual. Some people I’ve met have been able to fluently speak up to 6 languages. Although those were extreme cases, but it’s very common to meet people who speak 3-4!
On one such trip, I was in a full day of meetings with a bunch of Germans. 5 Germans, 1 Aussie. Which meant that, purely for my benefit, they had to all speak their SECOND language for the entire day. Something that for those less confident in their English, wouldn’t have been the easiest task. It was mortifying.
The week before I was surrounded by people who were fluent in Dutch and again, same scenario… although this time there were more just-English speakers in the room.
Aside: On the subject of learning languages, it never ceases to amaze me just how few Brits actually know a second, let alone third or fourth language. You’d think with Britain being so close to Europe (and part of the EU) that it would be more encouraged!
I’ve always talked about learning a new language, and even dabbled at a bit of Japanese in school but I have never fully put my mind to it and it really is about time.
The question is; which one? I’ve always quite liked the idea of learning French although I’ve heard it is quite hard, and perhaps something else, like Spanish, would be more useful.
Does anyone have any tips / suggestions / advice on which language and best way to go about it?