The national language in Nepal is Nepali. As of today, I have nearly three months of speaking this language. It is not a hard language to learn. I have discovered that learning the local language is important when you live abroad.
When I arrived in Nepal, in January, I knew I was going to learn Nepali. I did not imagine how much Nepali I would learn! Now, I can go for hours without speaking English. I am amazed about the language skills I have gained.
I am very thankful for Benita. She was my Nepali language teacher for one month. I had language class four hours a day, six days a week. This was challenging! Then, each afternoon she would go with me into the jungle or local community to help me practice. The first time I spoke Nepali to a stranger I was nervous. After a few conversations, I felt more confident.
After Benita’s class was over I continued to learn Nepali. My friends helped me practice every day. Some days, Bishnu and the other guys who work here only speak to me in Nepali. At times, it is hard, especially if I am tired or feeling lazy. However, I know it is good for me.
A few weeks ago I spent three days with a group of local women. They only speak Nepali. My friends and I had a wonderful time with these women. It was a great learning experience!
My top five tips for learning a foreign language are as follows:
- Do not be afraid! Usually, people who speak the language you are trying to learn are excited that you are learning. They will want to help you.
- Use it or lose it! In my case I had a teacher for only a month. Now it’s up to me to practice.
- Talk with the local people. This is how you learn slang and conversation!
- Learn vocabulary about things that are important to you.
- HAVE FUN! You may be learning another language abroad or at home, but both situations can be great. Try to play games and make it fun!
Here, I have made several friends who do not speak English. I would not have met them if I did not learn Nepali. I urge all of you learn a second, third, or fourth language! Think of all the new people you will be able to communicate with. There are millions of people around the globe who speak Nepali that I can now have a conversation. That equals millions more opportunities!