The everpresence of English is something I am coming to terms with. I think in the past I have tried to battle against it; feeling embarrassed that everyone is speaking my language, inadequate that I can’t speak theirs and frustrated with its use at every turn, everywhere I go.
However, being here, benefiting from such an internationally focused university and surrounded by people of all nationalities, I have come to be more accepting of the fact that English, today, is an international language and that there are many positives which come with this. It is crucial for intercultural communication and the sharing of ideas across nations that there is a common communicative tool. In many ways, I wish that this didn’t happen to be my own mother tongue and that I was required, like almost everyone else around me, to function in a language that wasn’t my own. It would be nice – I guess as ‘Esperanto’ tries to do – to have a neutral language to rely on… though unfortunately there are many reasons why I don’t think such an invention could work for this purpose.
English has gained its international status and this is my first language. These are the facts and this is what I have come to accept. By ‘acceptance’ I don’t mean ‘complacency’ – in other words, I feel like now I can, and must, appreciate how lucky I am to be a native English speaker. With this knowledge, I have the strengthened motivation that, while more difficult to find such a situation, I need to put myself in a truly immersive environment in order to – properly – learn a second language and add to the richness of words and structures and concepts available to me.
This isn’t necessarily the year to do that however – with my studies as a priority and living in a very much non-immersive environment; a reasonable level of Norwegian at the end of it will be a bonus that I will be happy with.