Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

The value of communication

by : 

When I was younger I hated languages. My dad spoke several and was convinced I had inherited the knack. I scraped a GCSE in German and vowed to stick to English from then on.

It wasn’t until I started thinking about my gap year that I considered learning a second language while I was away. I eventually chose Chile, and to my surprise, 4 months into being there I was addicted to the buzz of learning Spanish.

I was working in a school for disabled children in a class of 6. Only two children could speak, and neither of them well, but I realised slowly that every child could communicate. Some of them used physical signs and movements to express themselves. Others used their voices – they made noises which changed depending on how they felt. They even ‘talked’ to each other, having arguments and friendly chats like anyone else. Every child in that room had a strong personality, likes and dislikes, desires and fears that they communicated every day, without saying a single sentence. Slowly, I learned not only Spanish but the language of every one of the children I cared for. It was inspirational to see these children whose disability gave them a good excuse to not learn, chatting with each other and myself with ease. I had been making excuses for not trying all these years and here were a group of disabled eight year olds showing me how important communication really is. It made me want to challenge myself to really learn Spanish so that I could express my personality in the way that they had learned to do.

And so, every day I would go to work for 8 hours, come home and spend my evenings studying Spanish. I loved the thrill of using or recognising a new word. When I arrived I spoke nothing but when I left I could happily have a conversation. I had changed my degree from History to Spanish language. My life was going in a completely different direction to how it had been travelling before I left, and I’m sure I’m happier than I would have been if I hadn’t changed course. That is what I learned from those children – that dedication to communication can open doors like nothing else. Doors to friendship and happiness, to excitement and adventure. Just don’t tell my dad that he was right….


How important do you think it is to be able to communicate in different languages? 


patchyplum's picture
patchyplum 15 December, 2014 - 16:32

Well,in my opinion communicating is a vital capability in every being which is gifted to them in various ways.I see no difference between a person speaking from ordinary mouth we all have and a much difference sight of a deaf or dumb person speaking.Afterall we are communicating ,aren't we?
Now to get to the point.I am able to read, write 4 languages including my mother tongue but the issue always rises in speaking.Though I get on very well with English and Sinhala I fear the same practise with Tamil.Due to this,I have faced uncomfortable situations which were unbearable.I agree without any objection that communication is vital and is a strong factor that builds,continues mutual relationships through and through.The present time is a very important time which justifies the strong influence of communication with different languages.

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WildChild's picture
WildChild 5 November, 2013 - 14:59

It's very important and valuable. That's how you can communicate with other people who are speaking different language. And you can also make your knowledge riches and bigger.

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MALINE's picture
MALINE 27 October, 2013 - 19:13

It´s very important bein able to communicate with other people because no matter if you are in another country for holidays or job you always have to comunicate with others.

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Harabeli Supersweet's picture
Harabeli Supersweet 27 September, 2013 - 21:01

It's really important. When I speak in English I feel so happy. I haven't travelled abroad yet, but I have had some chances to practice my English with foreign people. These days it's not hard to learn a new language. TV, computers and all kinds of media help us a lot. Some years ago it was harder for people to study a new language. We just have to be willing to study and learn a new language. Every language that you learn can open a new door for you.

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Lavender's picture
Lavender 26 September, 2013 - 18:41

Very very important. I live in a city named after a former prime minister and president of my country. He was a great man and famous. And you know what, he knew a lot of foreign languages : French, English, Chinese, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Thai. Of course this helped him a lot in his work.

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