I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Gianluca who shares the importance of learning and speaking more languages…

Traveling is an infectious and beautiful thing. The ability to cross boundaries, experience new cultures, see new places and importantly meet different people. One of the obstacles of travel though, often lies in the ability to communicate properly.

Different languages spoken in different countries mean we are left in situations whilst traveling where what we want to say or ask another person often remains a mystery.

Speaking and talking to people is after all an amazing experience. It’s a channel of expression and when traveling a great opportunity to learn.

I’ve recently come back from two incredible weeks in my (other) home country, Italy – where I got to be the best man at my cousin Stefano’s wedding and spend time with family and friends in three different Italian cities.

Whilst I regard myself as a passionate Italian, mastering the ability to talk with my hands, I often found myself wanting on the trip when it came to speaking. My Italian is not terrible, when needed I speak a “version” of it ok(ish) – this is from all the Juventus and Italian soccer newspaper readings I do. My understanding of it as a result is far better than my speaking.

However, on this trip, the reality of the matter kicked in and inspired this blog. I noticed just how much of the speaking part I have lost over the years. There were times on this trip, where had I had the ability to fluently converse better in Italian that would have maximised certain interactions.For example when…

  • I was asking a question about the city of Camaiore whilst cycling one evening and noticed in 40 degrees that the surrounding mountains had snow on them… Turns out it isn’t snow but marble (of which was used by many of the renaissance artists). This took far longer to learn had I had the ability to ask the question correctly in Italian
  • Chatting to a group of Bergamasci friends of my cousin at the wedding about the CN&CO business
  • Expressing my true feelings in a debate to an Inter Milan supporter on a quick Ryan Air flight! Probably best that this conversation was limited to the broken Italian version 🙂
  • When visiting my dad (who speaks six different languages) and my three year old step brother, Daniel, I regretted not being able to speak Italian better so that the communication channel with my brother could be that much more fluid. I mean, at three he is like a pro and me an amateur!

Speaking another language (or languages) is a tool that equips you with the ability to transcend into new cultures and embrace the benefits of complete and easy communication. Not to mention it will add to to the experiences.

My mission now is to take my Italian to the next level. How? Speak it!!! With my brother, my cousin and friends overseas – that is after all what technology is there for!

And next time when I am in Italy… it will be that much sweeter. Once I am done brushing up my Italian… I think I’ll give French a go!

What language is next on your to-do list?