Learning a Foreign Language: An Emotional Rollercoaster

foreign language

My entire life, I always thought that it would be really cool to be able to speak other languages, but I never really wanted to put in the work to learn how to speak them. However, in order to be accepted into my university, I had to take at least two years of a language. So, with this in mind, during high school, I took Latin. My experience with Latin was mostly a terrible one, so I thought I would never take another language. However, I decided to take my chances in enrolling in a foreign language this semester. I enrolled in French, with no experience at all involving the language, and I’d like to explain my experience in the order that all these emotions occurred.


Confusion. In a class where absolutely no one has any previous experience with the language, the teacher wanted to get our class used to hearing French. In order to do this, she spoke in French for about 90 percent of the first week. This is, I might remind you, a language I do not speak.


Pride. Unlike Latin, with a spoken language, you are actually able to apply your new knowledge to everyday life. In the first week, I learned how to say “I don’t know” and “My name is Steven” and I felt amazing. I could walk around telling people who I was, and everyone was impressed.


Fascination. For about a month, French classes rolled by, and I loved learning new things every day.


Anger. If you’re going to make rules for verbs, and nouns, and conjugating them, why would there be exceptions?!? Why would they do that to us?!?


Acceptance. No matter how hard I tried, I would never be a master of the French language. So I accepted that when our teacher would teach us one word, I’d have to learn two. I’m not so sure about how well I maintained that rule, but it worked decently for the duration of my semester.


Happiness. At the end of the semester, we had an oral exam with our teacher, in which she would ask us questions, and we would have to talk to her in French. My happiness came from the fact that I could, indeed, respond to her, and I understood what she was saying….mostly.


Overall, I recommend taking a foreign language. It involved a decent amount of work, and definitely isn’t required in all cases, but it was fun, and I now have the ability to explain how many family members I have in a different language. What were your steps of emotions in your language classes?

Steven Kennedy

About Steven Kennedy

Steven is a freshman at the University of Delaware. He is currently majoring in mechanical engineering, with an interest in aerospace design. He enjoys spending his time hiking, snowboarding, hanging out with friends, and writing in his spare time. His favorite shows include Arrested Development, The Walking Dead, and Sherlock.