On the last trip I made abroad, I went through a situation that left a mark on me. But before telling the case itself, I would like to explain a little of my story, so that you can understand why such an everyday situation for many people was different and uncomfortable for me.
I’ve been working in travel journalism since 2008. But since long before that, I’ve always been very interested in other cultures, and that includes other languages. In high school I was always the most advanced student in English classes, and when I had the opportunity to take extra-curricular Spanish classes, I took a bite too.
When choosing a college, this also had an influence: I studied journalism (the profession I chose) and letters at the same time – because that little desire to learn different languages and understand the language learning process never left me.
Today, at 30 years old and over 10 working with travel content, I consider myself fluent in Spanish and Italian. Not because I took 300 courses in each language, but because I was always interested in studying on my own with films, music, books and – when I had the opportunity – contact with native speakers of these languages.
Behold, on my last trip abroad, I spent a few hours in Paris. French has never entered my language study agenda and I must confess: I came to understand, for the first time, all the fears people have when traveling abroad. I had enormous difficulty understanding menus in restaurants, asking for information on the street, even finding the transfer I had booked at the airport.
This experience made me realize how much my life – and my entire career – was shaped by the interest I had since I was young in learning languages. I would never get involved in this travel journalism if communication were a frequent difficulty in my daily work.
You can be the most diligent student in high school, go to a hell of a college or hire the best mentor in your field, but one thing is for sure: your evolution will always be limited by your ability to communicate. For non-English speakers, for example, the limits on how far you can grow are infinitely smaller. And with all the possibilities of the internet, why are you going to allow that boundary to exist?
I always talk here about the importance of investing in knowledge, and how much it contributes to our personal and professional development. It is a constant and lifelong investment! And the most wonderful thing in our information age is that all the knowledge in the world can be accessed here, online, without leaving your home.
When I was younger, studying Spanish necessarily meant taking a face-to-face, bureaucratic and expensive course. It was a matter of privilege – both financial and intellectual, because if you didn’t find it easy to learn with the school’s closed methodology, you had no alternatives. Glad that has changed!
If you want to study or improve your Spanish and have conversation as a priority – the one that will open doors for you in your personal and professional life – I recommend that you get to know Cambly . It is the only platform that offers private Spanish classes based on conversation with native speakers in an on-demand format – that is, whenever you want, 24 hours a day.
Of course, before recommending it to you, I took a class to get to know the experience better. I had a chat with American James Lawrence, who lives in Colombia and teaches at Cambly for almost 2 years. In just a few minutes of conversation, I felt more comfortable talking about my work with the blog and I realized how much difference private lessons make when it comes to losing the fear of talking and letting go of the shame.
This is nice for those who have specific needs with the language, have difficulty booking fixed times in the week or even those looking for a different and more interesting way to study. Staying motivated is the best way to persist in studying until everything becomes easier.
And look, I can assure you: a private class, which forces you to really talk and interact, guarantees an infinitely faster evolution than a course with several students in which you remain silent most of the time. And an English phrase that I know you’ll understand: time is money! Evolving fast and with pleasure is the best thing there is!
If you were as curious as I was, when I met Cambly, I’ll share the kindness they gave me: with the rairaingles code you can take the first class for free and better understand how the platform for learning English at home works and if it’s for you.