When I was young I couldn’t speak or read Chinese, even though my parents were both Chinese. This was because they spoke different dialects so English was used at home. But when I left school, I became interested in Chinese philosophy, art and martial arts and that changed everything. I felt that the only way to know a culture was through its language so I went to Taiwan then to China. And now although my Chinese is not fluent, I can understand most of what is said.
Learning a language is not easy, but it’s a far less painful a journey if you live in that country. I learnt more in two months living in Taiwan than I did studying Chinese part time at university for two years. In Taiwan I was forced to use it everyday not only in the streets but also at home as I lived with local people.
I’ve been learning Italian on and off for the past five years. I love the sound of that language. My goal, one day, is to live in Italy for six months.