Learning languages never came natural to me. I realized this already in the first few English lectures I had back in high school. While most of my classmates remembered vocabulary with ease, it’s been a rocky road for me to find motivation to learn them, let alone speaking them out loud. While I had sort of a talent for numbers, I got bored too quickly, when learning languages. This attitude even got worse, when we started to learn a second language, French, and later on Italian. Naturally I can’t remember a lot of those five years, nor can I speak those two languages properly.
There is no pressure to actual learn any language, since most of the international movies and TV shows are dubbed in German anyway. It all changed when I graduated high school. I understood, that I am only able to learn a language, when I have a passion for it and the culture it derives from. Since my childhood, I’ve been quite fond of the Nordic countries and I grew up listening to Finnish rock and metal bands. This initially sparked my interest for the Finnish culture and its weird language. I started learning the language, while still living in Germany.
When I arrived in Kouvola last semester, it was the first time I heard about the tandem project. One of our tutors here, was interested in learning my language in exchange for teaching me Finnish. It’s been a nice and funny experience, since we had to set up our own meetings and the lecture content. We talked a lot about food and even went to the movie theatre and cooked together. In the beginning, it was a little awkward to speak a language without being able to avoid mistakes, but after a while we were more relaxed. You can still apply for this semester’s tandem project, in case you already found a tandem partner.
Besides learning Finnish, my spoken English improved a lot through the exchange in Kouvola. Even though I still stumble over my own words sometimes, I feel quite comfortable speaking English today. Like with most things you learn in life, it’s just a matter of practice.
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