foreign travel

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?

10 Safest Countries to Travel To

A trip right about now sounds nice, huh?  Well, whether you are planning on a week away or a study abroad trip, researching places to go can be a daunting task.  What are your priorities?  For most, the safety of an area plays a major role in deciding on a destination.  As it seems the world is in constant chaos, and watching the news or staying updated might not be your favorite hobby, let’s take a look at the most peaceful places in the world based 60 percent on internal peace and 40 percent on external peace (according to the latest the Global Peace Index 2011 Report):

Iceland tops the list, rising from 2010’s second place most peaceful place.  Although in 2008 to 2009 Iceland experienced financial turmoil and political instability, the reformist Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has managed an economic recovery and created more jobs during 2010.  “Icelandic society remains essentially harmonious, with measures of safety and security including violent crime, internal conflict and the number of homicides all accorded very low scores,” according to the report.

New Zealand is named second most peaceful country as they have had a “rise in the number of internal security officers.”  The country has also scored lowest in comparison to the other 153 countries in terms of “likelihood of violent demonstrations, the homicide rate and the level of respect for human rights (Political Terror Scale).”

Although Japan has suffered multiple environmental catastrophes, a strong earthquake, a deathly tsunami and “ensuing nuclear crisis” Japan ranks highly in terms of overall domestic peace and ranks low on their level of militarization.

Denmark has increased the penalty for illegal gun possession which largely contributes to their fourth place ranking.  “Danish exports of major conventional weapons per head declined to the lowest possible score,” says the GPI report.  Some of the other factors that has landed Denmark a fourth place spot is their freedom “from internal conflict,” their political stability, and their lack of conflict with neighboring countries, according to the index.

The Czech Republic is the fifth most peaceful country in the world.  This is due to their “strongly Europhile foreign minister, Karel Schqarzenberg,” who has “pursued an active but pragmatic foreign policy, combining liberal economic positions in international and EU affairs with a careful eye to the Czech Republic’s national interest,” says the GPI Report of 2011.

The next five most peaceful countries are Finland, Canada, Norway, Slovenia and Ireland.

It should be noted that traveling to places other than these ten can be generally safe, especially as the United States has ranked 82 out of 153 countries, according to the report by the Institute for Economics & Peace.

As safety while traveling is always important, be sure to download the Smart Traveler App provided  by The US Department of State to find safety tips about the country you are looking to visit.  Also registering your trip with the State could literally save your life.  A friend of mine traveling in Japan was notified about the tsunami and was able to avoid the catastrophe.

Good luck and safe travels!


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