The Art Of Learning A New Foreign Language

People’s antics vary according to language and culture. Speaking their language, even poorly, provides an opportunity for greater trust and collaboration as an insider rather than not.

The Art Of Learning A New Foreign Language
Photo by Matheus Viana / Unsplash

“I heard that you speak another language,” she said as we entered the bus to head to another Chinese city. We had been touring multiple cities on a trade and investment mission through The People’s Republic of China on a grueling 10-day trip. The tight schedule led us—a distinguished group of government bureaucrats and private sector representatives—through seven cities with only a few short hours to sleep. I met some of the group members for the first time. Despite their easy conversations, there was still a feeling of being an outside visitor intruding on friends. I said a few phrases and greetings in Mandarin to appease and build trust with my Chinese counterparts. I did this the first time years before in Xiamen. The art of learning a new foreign language was to immerse yourself.

No one was to blame for what happened. It was all a matter of missed connections, bad timing, blundering in the dark. We were always in the right place at the wrong time, the wrong place at the right time, always missing each other, always just a few inches from figuring the whole thing out. That’s what the story boils down to, I think. A series of lost chances, all the pieces were there from the beginning, but no one knew how to put them together. #sundaythought #rooftoppingwithraj #roadtripwithraj
Photo by Road Trip with Raj / Unsplash