Follow your Heart

4

Living up to Expectations

When you tell other people you’re learning new languages or have learned several of them in the past you often receive different reactions.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get tons of encouragement and tons of questions about your progress and your journey. If you’re not, then you’ll  get judgments and you’ll end up feeling hurt or under pressure.

I bet you know what I am talking about. Let’s see some examples, shall we?

You studied Spanish so you can talk about “Quantum Physics” in Spanish, right?

Uh… what?! Hell to the no!

I’m not able to talk about “Quantum Physics” in Spanish because I’m not even able to do so in my native tongue!

All kidding aside… you’re not supposed to know *everything*: every word, every grammatical structure, every rule and so on.

The thing is, people make assumptions, and sometimes you feel like you have to live up to their expectations. You don’t have to.

I’m not perfect in my mother tongue, so why should I be in my second or third one?
I will always be a learner. In Italian. In English. In French. In Spanish and in any other language or field, for that matter. There will always be something I don’t know and it’s okay. I’m not aiming at perfection, my goal is to be able to communicate effortlessly with people from different countries.

Why are you wasting your time with Swedish? You should be learning Mandarin! It’s the language of the future, isn’t it?

You’ve made your decision. You’ve chosen to study a less common language or maybe even an endangered one.
Are you crazy? Why are you doing so when you can learn Mandarin and make a lot of money? *sigh*
Unfortunately that’s what some people think. They don’t know  that motivation is the key to become fluent.

They just see languages as business and nothing else. Don’t let other people beliefs affect you. Listen to your inner voice. Listen to your guts. Start learning the language you really want to speak, even if your friends will think that it’s useless and you’re “wasting your time”.

What kind of job can you do with languages? You better choose another degree. A serious one!

Your passion for foreign languages is more alive than ever and yet others are pushing you to choose a degree like Engineering or Computer Science. I know what it feels like. You don’t want to disappoint them. If you follow their advice though, you’ll only end up disappointing yourself.

Have you ever received discouragement from others? How did you react to it? 

On a semi-related note, I found this funny video on YouTube and I loved it! You may like it too 😉

Chiara Grandola

Hey there! I'm Chiara, also known as Claire on the language learning community. I'm deeply in love with any form of art, different cultures and... guess what?! Yes, languages!

  • So true!! Loved this: I’m not perfect in my mother tongue, so why should I be in my second or third one?
    I will always be a learner. In Italian. In English. In French. In Spanish and in any other language or field, for that matter. There will always be something I don’t know and it’s okay. I’m not aiming at perfection, my goal is to be able to communicate effortlessly with people from different countries.” Sono d’accordo!

    • Grazie Melissa! Sono felice che anche tu la pensi come me! Grazie per aver commentato, è sempre un piacere leggere la tua opinione! 😉

  • Lu

    I totally agree with you! Passion is the key to success and happiness. We should stop trying to please others, we should try to please ourselves. This is not a selfish behavior, I think this is the only way to live in peace with ourselves and the people around us.
    “Never let others discourage you from achieving what you really want” is a great mantra, I need to repeat it in my mind when I feel judged.

  • I have to say that your second point is my greatest pet peeve. People often urge language learners to study certain languages because they are more “useful” than others. There’s nothing wrong with learning a language because it’s one you want to learn, because it interests you.