In the great words of Nelson Mandela, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” This quote always comes to mind when I think of humanity and how the world continues to be more connected. People are travelling everywhere whether for vacation, work, school, volunteer or simply for new beginnings. People are travelling across the world to meet new and old friends. People are travelling across the world to reconnect with family. People are travelling across the world to places they never thought they will ever visit. And people are intermarrying across cultures, borders, languages, continents and oceans. I have had the honor to live and travel to different places across the world and it is always exciting to hear people speak their language even though I don’t understand. There are some languages you will come across with and fall in love by their sounds. They are some languages that when people speak, you can feel a sense of peace and ease. I so much love languages and I wish I could be able to communicate with different people in their mother tongue or the language that they best feel comfortable in. Language enables people to fully express themselves.
I never thought I would be learning Chinese (Mandarin) language. When my Mandarin class started in October of 2017, it was not easy at the start. There were days when I wanted to give up but always found the courage to continue pushing. And the more words I learned, the more the language became exciting. The more words I learned, the more I was slowly starting to express myself. The more words I learned, the more the excitement was building. The more words I learned, I could see locals light up with smiles when I speak the little that I know. My mind was opening up to new possibilities and I began to feel unstoppable. I began to feel that anything is surly possible under the sun. Before moving to China for graduate studies, I had taken a French class at a University back home for months refreshing my French. As someone who lived in few places, the movement exposed me to different languages and so I have always been a huge fan of languages. I remember when my family and I lived in South Africa, the Xhosa language was very hard, but after a few years I was to be able to fully express myself in Xhosa and even translate for some family members.
It has been about 6 months since my first Mandarin class began and those around me have noticed huge progress that I have done. I have come to appreciate the language more, the people and what China has to offer. It is now always exciting when I see characters/words that I have learned and able to understand their meanings. The more words I learn, the more I want to learn. The challenge is surely still present but because of the love and appreciation, the journey has become a little easier and enjoyable. Like everything; if you love what you do, it makes things worthwhile but doesn’t mean you won’t face challenges. Challenges will still be present, but you will be able to face them more positively. You’re never too young or too old to learn something new and so I would like to encourage you to learn a new language, especially if you enjoy travelling. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to speak the language of the people of the place that you usually go to? Their faces would surely be lightened up with great joy and amazement as those here in China when foreigners are able to speak their language. This also communicates to the locals that you want to belong and learn along the way. I believe you too will even be filled with great excitements and enjoy your stay more with great appreciation. This is one way you and I can become the best Global Citizens. Take the time to even learn greetings in different languages. This to you might be a small step, but it will open new and awesome possibilities. The best way to start is by looking at the place or places that you often visit and which main language the locals speak there. Once you’re aware of that information, ask a friend for support, go online or take the initiative to learn next time you visit that place. You will win new hearts throughout your travels and contribute to a better and prosperous world without knowing it. This is what humanity is all about; you and I doing our parts. Learning a new language or other people’s way of life is the best way to contribute to this world that we so much love. Humanity Seed is all about planting seeds of good deeds everywhere you go. Wherever you travel to and for whichever purpose, never overlook or disrespect anyone.