I love that when learning a new foreign language, I seem to discover a new way of thinking and, most importantly, a new way of relating to people.
When learning another language, you also immerse yourself in another culture and this teaches you other ways of doing life. You learn to accept other peoples’ behaviour better and start to value the fact that learning about another culture and embracing different customs helps you appreciate more your own.
I am currently living in Vibo Valentia in Southwest Italy. Most people here are very friendly and like to chat (anywhere and anytime). Every time my work colleagues and I say goodbye to each other, I seem to be the only one rushing to leave to get to my next appointment. Everyone else stays even after they have said their goodbyes more than twice.
At first, I couldn't understand why my colleagues would continue chatting after they had formally said goodbye. However, after having spent over a week here, I have learnt that staying behind to chat is the way local people show they are interested in you and that is quite nice!
I am, slowly, learning to be more flexible with my schedule and I, now, make sure I have plenty of time between appointments so I can join conversations without having to constantly be in a rush.
Do you think it's important to try to learn about the culture of a country when you're learning a language?