miércoles, 25 de julio de 2018

Speaking about learning English at 51

This speech was addressed to mid and high school students, during their English Festival on July 25th, 2018

Good morning, dear students.

I’m glad to be here, invited by Diana Flores (also known as Diane Flowers), head of English department. She asked me to address you about the importance of learning a second language, which in this case is English language.

Probably you’re wondering “Why him, why Góchez”?

Well… In case you don't know, currently (at my fifty-one years old) I'm enrolled in English lessons at UCA Language School on Saturdays, and I’m pleased to share with you my motivations about this learning experience.

I’d like to start by saying that, after my high-school times (a very long time ago), I had never received formal nor informal English lessons, but I'd always felt attracted to bilingual communication.

During my years at the university, when I was studying semantics (that is, the meaning of the words and sentences) I realized that when you make any translation something is always lost, because every language “divides” reality in different ways, and if you really want to understand the original meaning and sense, you need to think in other language.

This aspect is particularly important if you want to enjoy some pieces of art, like music, TV series and movies, not to mention novels and poetry, fields in which -as you know- I'm specialized.

In my case, even the basic English language knowledge that I grabbed informally after my high-school days has allowed me to read a few books, and learn some audio and video software, that has been very useful in my job.

But even if you are not interested in arts or literature, there are many other so-called “practical benefits” for learning English, like get a better job or have better opportunities to get a scholarship.

Having said the above, nowadays there is one personal special reason because I'm actually very interested in learning and developing English fluency, and that's because recently I was invited by some relatives to visit them in the United States and Canada.

I tell you: when I knew that I would go (because I had to), I got panic, because, you know, one thing is to read and listen standard English, and other very different thing is to have real conversations with English native speakers, and I didn’t want to fully depend on my relatives to communicate myself, using them as interpreters.

So, in last January I decided to face the challenge and take the diagnose exam at UCA Language School. I qualified for level ten out of twenty-one. Last week I completed level twelve and I expect to finish the whole course in 2020, and then take the TOEFL as a certification.

And that’s the story.

I hope you have found some motivation in my testimony and keep active an enthusiastic in learning English and other languages.

Thank you for your attention.