La Joie de l’Apprentissage-The joy of learning

“ learning another language is a gateway to possess a second soul.”

As she checked her watch for what would be the millionth time, she realized that she had been absentmindedly staring at the same page for the past twenty minutes, with a heavy sign, she tried to force herself to concentrate but try as she might she just could not bring herself to care about the joule’s law …

A few years back, I found myself completely lost, stuck in the science stream for two dreadful years, frustrated and confused; I was at the end of my wits. I knew that, a career in science definitely wasn’t cut out for me and wished for a much needed fresh start.

The only subject that I remotely enjoyed learning, in the past two years, was French. So without thinking, without worrying, without doubting myself, I took the first, brave and probably one of the best decisions in my life.

For the first time in my life, I stood up to my parents and after some convincing; they were enthusiastically on board and had let me sign up for some French classes for the summer.

And so, as the rest of my peers prepared for a summer full of long, long hours of studying and prepping for entrance exams, I spent my summer, stuttering through my Je m’ appelle Karishma and Je parle Français, day dreaming of living in France, sipping Café au lait outside some nice, sunny coffee shop in Paris, while, chatting animatedly to some charming Frenchman.

It was a truly amazing experience to find out how discovering another language, another culture, another world helped me discover myself again. I started looking forward to my classes, instead of dreading them. After what felt like forever, I was learning and not studying, French made me realize that learning can be beautiful.

Learning a new language doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours buried under books, trying to identify different grammar rules and mugging up a long list of words. Too often than not, I spent my classes conversing with my peers and teachers in French about anything and everything, or having debates and roleplays on a bunch of different, interesting topics.

Fast forward, one and half years later, I was astonished to see how much it had changed me as a person. Growing up as a shy kid with stage fright who always had her head stuck in a book, from the first day of my class till the last, I had slowly evolved into this person who could voice her opinions confidently in front of a crowd and developed a reputation for not shutting up in class, though I still always have my head stuck in a book, even now.

I recommend anyone who is looking for a new and fresh start in life, to try learning a new language. It can really help you find your way back to yourself or transform the person you are.

There’s lots of ways to learn a new language, rather than just signing up for a class. Try exploring the books, music and movies in the language you want to learn. I especially feel that French songs and lyrics have their own different kind of charm and melody; they are just not the same for me as the ones in English or Hindi. And, whenever, I need a bit of cheering, comfort could always be found in my favorite French songs, movies and books.

If you are feeling particularly brave, just explore the country of the language you want to learn, it’s the best way to really learn the culture and the people who live there. Just learn it the way you want to, dive right into it, and with just a bit of luck, you will swim out the other side.

Though I had to take a break from learning French, I am truly grateful to all the memories I have, the people I have met and the friends I have made. I was also reminded of how much I liked writing and making up stories. Looking forward to getting back to French whenever possible and exploring other new languages as well, as of now all I can say is- Attendez moi!


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