Would you like to have some of that British realistic sense or rather some of that Italian fury that all the characters possess in foreign movies? Well, apparently you can! I have recently read an article that said that language is an important maker of our identity. As soon as we start speaking another language, we reform our identity. Multilingual-raised people, for instance, adopt a different behavior according to the specific language they speak. Someone with a German-Italian background would be more sociable and energetic when speaking Italian than when he or she would speak German. Language is tightly intertwined with culture, so it is inevitable that a certain culture will have an effect upon the manner of speaking.
I have now been living for a few months in Germany and so far, I can’t say that speaking German, or any other language, flickered a new identity in me. Of course, language becomes associated with cultural norms, but I’m still desperately searching for the Jane Austen in me when I speak French.
However, looking back at my time in a foreign country, I can definitely say that being in contact with other cultures has changed me and has definitely made my identity more colorful.
You’re getting curious? Well, this is what I have learned from the different nationalities which I met during my time in Hamburg and at bab.la:
- My Russian friend taught me how to be independent and strong-minded.
- My American friends taught me how to be nice to everyone and how to be even more smiley.
- It may sound a bit cliché, but my Italian bab.la buddy showed me how to be passionate about something, even if it is ‘just’ work. The energy which she puts in her work is incomparable.
- My Polish co-workers taught me how to be assertive.
- My German friends showed me how to be happy with who I am.
- As for my Asian friends here, they certainly taught me a lot but the most remarkable characteristic that they tried to pass on to me is their love for food. I have tried some. And I have liked some.
But the most important thing they all taught me is this: no matter how different you are, there is always one interest, one place, one story that unites us all.