Monday, 19 September 2011

It felt very surreal today attending the introductory class for Italian. In the past I would always look at language students in awe and think, 'gosh, I wish I had the will power to be one of them'. How naive I was. I put so much time and dedication into science, a subject which though interesting does not produce such immediately exciting and useful results for the average person. Languages on the other hand, though often difficult and frustrating, act as a key to another culture, another world.

So often people are under the firm belief they know a culture from having spent a long time in that place or hanging out with locals... But in what language do they speak? Most likely they use the lingua franca English. This is a grave error if you want to understand deeply a culture. Otherwise it greatly hinders your chances of getting the maximum choice of people to talk to, not everyone speaks English. Plus you get the bonus of having a whole new world of literature and film open to you.

Given the enjoyment factor and the exciting possibilities of using of a language, I feel I was very very wrong, like many British people. Language learning takes a lot of effort and commitment, but the enjoyable type, for the simple reason that progress is noticed on many levels of your social and academic life. Learning a language you might feel as if you are becoming a better person, as it teaches you a lot about other cultures and can assist greatly in providing confidence.

Honestly, I can see a long and difficult year ahead of me, I am not going to lie. The most important factor however is that I can foresee myself enjoying just about every minute of it, minus the exams and essay deadlines.

Aside from this... My lovely new flatmate and myself are now the proud owners of a couch available via couchsurfing. Within an hour of registering it I got six requests, it seems as if I am not going to be able to say yes to everyone, though we are likely to have a visitor every so often. I am the proud winner of the title 'president of the Italian society' this year. I now need to start collaborating with other societies and organising events.

Like last year, but even more ferociously I aim to fulfil my goals this year. I am doing a part-time year, which should give me enough time to balance work and play. I am desperately seeking a job to support myself, I was sure they would be in abundance but it seems quite to the contrary. I am planning on taking part with the Italian play again, but also jumping board for the french play. Aside from this there is the french and language society, and I have my own society to run. I am quite urgent to join a sports or music society, though despair at how much it costs. The fencing society is relatively inexpensive, though it costs a lot if you want to avoid having to perspire into the sweaty helmet and kit many other people have used each week. The equitation society is extortionate, the same goes for the dance societies. I really don't want to have to return to the gym as the only method for keeping fit, but right now it seems the only option. Edinburgh doesn't even seem to have enough bikes to go around.

When will I find the time to study? I better do considering I have promised myself to continue the same satisfying practice of completing and handing in coursework a week before the deadline or more, then walking around the library smugly the night before feeling rather happy with myself. I won't miss a single lecture (last year I missed one because I fell asleep at home and never woke up), I will complete exercises before they are requested and give myself enough time to read and attempt to analyse literature pieces. What a beautiful thing, to move away from factual analysis and return to the creative world of fiction!

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