Global and International Studies
Beijing Language and Culture University, China
Communication failures? Where do I start? I have so many stories that I could write multiple blogs on them. From being dropped off at the wrong university, to being locked out of my dorm room multiple times, to not being able to fully understand the doctor when I got sick. These were all failures. Instead of telling this long story on how horrible something was, I will talk more about how you can prevent all these failures from happening.
When travelling to another country, do not rely on the three sentences that you learned in basic language class. You may think you know a good amount of the language, you don’t. You know nothing. Before you come to another country, study what you learned in class and then some. Never stop studying. Don’t take a break. Find more people who speak the language where you are and then try to speak to them. Jumping into a culture is cool if you’d rather do that, but if you don’t want to feel like a complete outsider, learn more about the place you’re going to. Even as I say that, no amount of studying of the culture of China completely prepared me for what I’ve learned while being here. I have mastered the blank stare of confusion. Just completely lost in a conversation. Of course it gets better, and you’re going to make friends and you will learn the language, but try to make yourself feel comfortable, as much as you can. Failures are funny, if you live through them, so make sure you can.