Learning to speak, read and write in Japan was a humbling experience! As an English and literacy teacher during the day, I had the luxury of speaking my native language, but the second I stepped out of school, my language (and charades) skills were instantly put to the test. I remember writing an email to my father early on during my experience abroad stating, “I feel like I’ve lost one of my vital senses. I am surrounded by symbols and have no clue what they mean.”
Looking back on my time in Japan, I am so thankful for the experience it provided me of having to learn a new language. I am also eternally grateful for the patience my Japanese teachers afforded me as I hacked through short passages written in hiragana, katakana and kanji. Now, when I watch a young child learn to read letters and symbols for the first time, I have a whole new appreciation for the seemingly difficult, yet ultimately rewarding challenges involved in this complex task.
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try learning a second language? Or, perhaps you want to remember what it feels like to learn how to read again? Today, I discovered a free website that allows you to do just that!
Livemocha is a website that contains free courses in Spanish, German, English, Hindi, French and Mandarin! Check it out and remember what it is like to learn how to read again!