Friday, April 07, 2006

Foreign languages, identity and intercultural competence

Hello, my name is Alexander. I'm a 17-year-old boy who was born in Italy and has been living in Brazil since 1992. I'm French because both my parents were born in France.

The bilingual school I study offers me Portuguese, French, English and Spanish classes. We live in Brazil, because my father thought moving from Italy to Brazil was more profitable for my future than returning to Paris.
I've been in contact with foreign languages and cultures all my life just like my parents. My grandparents were from Genoa in Italy and from Corsiga, in the south of France .At home I have always spoken French even though my parents tried sometimes to talk to me and to my sister in other languages in order to make us learn them faster.

I think, in my case, it is difficult for me to define which culture represents me best! I think all complete me! I’m a mixture between two and half cultures: (French, Portuguese and Italian). The only language I’m averse to is German. I think this feeling comes from my grandparents because they were occupied by Germans during the Second World War. So, this does not mean I am against it! I just think it is not as beautiful a language as French. I am aware that stereotypes may influence this idea but this is how I feel for the time being.
I definitely think that foreign languages should be fostered. It’s always a new experience: new words, new expressions help you feel more comfortable when exposed to a new culture. It also helps you to develop your ideas. The language is the key word for culture. It may also be required for a job application. Speaking foreign languages definitely gives people a better status! Our society needs “open-minded” people So being able to understand other cultures is essential . I admit French people tend to think their language is more “qualified” as it was used by great authors and are too proud of themselves. Maybe because of this lack of humility,they don’t feel comfortable learning languages

I believe that there are some languages that are more privileged than others: like English and Spanish, because they are “business” languages. In a future not so far from now, Chinese will be the most important language. I think the main challenges, when you’re trying to adapt to a new language and culture are, for example, the values that society asks you to respect. The vocabulary and grammar are also a tricky part when learning a new language.

I feel my studies definitely prepared me to face other cultures. Recently, I went to Vancouver in Canada and had no problems in adapting. I was happy because I learnt many things about the Canadian history and their life style and my English improved as well because reading and speaking English all day . My grades were so good I couldn’t believe it! So, yes! My studies helped me. I see traveling as a way to learn and improve your intercultural competence! You have to feel what’s like to be alone or in a family ten thousand miles from yours. You’ve got to be in “full immersion”.

The word identity is so flexible for me. I think I could change identities just like my socks! It’s something you can adapt in any situations: I could be myself in English anytime. This easy way to change and adapt myself comes from my passion for traveling and new cultures. The more you know them, the more you will be able to develop and improve your “Intercultural” identity. You need to have this “base” first, so than you can create a new you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Brazilian referundum.

There are 5 articles: the first one comes from the Washington post .com
The second one comes from the BBC news here in Sao Paulo.
The third and the fourth one belong to the IANSA web site.
And finally the last one was written by Geoffrey Paul Carpenter.
I’ve made a list of words that are related to the subject.
- Gun, traffic, war, violence, policy, government, deaths, decision, courage, armed, unarmed, control, possession, power, illegal, trade, ammunition.
Well the first 3 ones are against the armament! They would like Brazilians to vote Yes in brazil next Sunday. And I agree with them because guns do not bring peace or something else. It just brings more blood. But there are also complex arguments! (That I prefer not mention in here). Those 3 articles show us the “bad” side of the actual armament! And they try to shock people giving us testimonies!
The 2 last ones are more against the disarmament! They use examples and they compare Brazil to USA. And that is not correct because each country have his own rules and Brazilian people may think differently from the Americans! One country can not influence the other in situation like this! It wouldn’t be right. They are asking the Brazilian people to vote and not the American!
There are a lot of ways to influence people to vote for something, but in this case, it will be better if each one of us vote for what is best for Brazil!
I will be posting more information about this referendum!
Thank you
Bye
alex

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The English experience.

The English class was very interesting this year, because we learn all the boring stuff like grammar but we also learn how to communicate! During the last 8 months we learn how to use a blog and a flicker. We started by posting little texts about our vacations and then about the work in class and finally we posted about very specific themes! Like rebels and pictures that we studied in class. Then we created a flicker account. And that is the most exciting part, because we are using this “picture blog” now in our school time and we are going to keep it as far as we want to! It is a hobby for some people! We can find very dedicated people in their hobby!
My first impression about this kind of work was: that it recommended a lot of responsibilities and concentration, but also a not fragmented work. (continuous work).
After we got used to this progressive work, we did feel relieved and grateful. This experience was very enriching: I learn new vocabulary and new expressions. This 2 “blogs” obliged us to write every week. That means we needed persistence! This helps us in our fluency in English! So finally, we prepared our BAC, we practice English and we improved our culture!
Bye bye
See you later
alex

Monday, August 22, 2005

"The way we work."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/work/lookingforwork/224.html

I choose this article from Ron Murray, because he talks about his first unemployment. I find this subject very interesting because he is an electronic engineer and … well he was working to several enterprises and suddenly he got fired. So I was wondering what’s the first feeling that we’ve got when we are fired?! It must be horrible… really, can you imagine, after all this time working and getting used to your co-workers and the way they work! Ron is right. At first you can not describe your feelings about the situation but after a certain time you may get used to it! I dough because even if it’s like little vacations the pain is too deep inside of you and you will try to change the situation! The reason I’m writing about this article is that one day this situation is going to happen with us! And it’s difficult to accept it! So I think that’s better to talk about what we are feeling with other people because they can help us! Sometimes when you feel lonely the better way of forgetting what happen is take break and enjoy life, then you can come back and take a new place in the society! That’s what happened with Ron Murray, he came back of his trip and start studying about his passion! So you can’t abandon every thing without fighting, right...? So he got back to the city and started a new job, witch means a new life!


http://www.cbc.ca/news/work/workvslife/242.html

I choose this one, because a bunch of young people, after their university, choose to do freelance! That means no responsibilities and no boss! Feels good Hein?!! Well in my opinion it could be fun but just for a while! I mean, after graduation it’s OK, but to continue like that…! It’s not possible. Young people like to have fun after work and that’s normal but reaching the 30’s and still work on freelance that’s too much! Just because every body will need a boss and more responsibilities and of course better salaries if they want to have a family!
So I agree that’s fun! But one day every body will enter a more serious enterprise. Not just for the money but also for the respect!
Bye and thank you for reading me.
alex

I didn't learn new words reading those articles! And the words that are related to work are the same I choosed.

Comment on the three comments by teh , giovanna and kro

Well, thank you I 'm glad that you answered my Brainstorming post! First of all, work mean stress because you have a lot of responsibilities and you need to brainstorm every time you want something! So yes in a certain way work is stress , now it can depends on the kind of work your are doing but I dough that one day you will found a non stress work!! Kisses I agree with you that work = passion! You need to like and enjoy what you are doing. Otherwise it will get boring!
I choose the word feelings because work can be material but also imaginative and "touchable". So you need to be creative and different from the others right?!! So take profit. In work you are capable to feel other sensations and give your opinions to the others, using for that your work!!
Byes see you later
alex

Monday, August 15, 2005

Brainstorming

Work = relations - job – responsibilities – effort – occupation – sociability – concurrence – stress – way of expressing feelings and opinions – past-time - hobby – novelty – salary – determination – personal – colleague – imagination – passion - construction

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Paraty


Paraty
Originally uploaded by livestrong.
Well this picture was taken last sunday in Paraty. Has you can see, the ocean seems very calm and the lightness is so beautiful in winter!
A lot of people think that beach, in general, is only for summer, well I can tel you that they are wrong, cause every winter since 2000 I'm going to the sea side and I always got a very nice weather. So this is a such fact against any stereotype regarding seasons.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Morro de São Paulo


morro de sao paulo
Originally uploaded by livestrong.
Hi, last post was about Club Med and all my friends next to Bahia but now I'm going to talk about this little island next to Valencia(neer Salvador).
So, this picture represents the 4th beach in "Morro de São Paulo". Well it's a long story. There are 4 beachs in this island. The only acces to this little paradise is by speed boat. And the only way to visit it is by walking cause cars are forbiden. So as I was saying there are 4 long beachs and each one is more beautiful than the other! We walked more than 15 kilometers in 2 days! uff. But it was gorgeous! Thanks for reading my post.
Bye
alex

Club Med Itaparica


Club med itaparica
Originally uploaded by livestrong.
Hi everybody! Well I hope your holidays were just terrific as mine. So, this picture was taken the last night, that means friday night. It represent the Juniors club. Friday morning was just unique, because it started with a handsome breakfast on the beach!! hahaha.It was beautiful! Then we had fun playing volley ball on the beach, and after we went to the gym stadium.
On the afternoon we enjoyed ourselves eating ice cream and making a beach fire. The sun was going down slowly, and we went to the "Cabana", a special friday restaurant. Than as all nights the show was about to begin. Finally, Jonas, one of the leaders, decide to make a human chaine! We can see the yellow bracelets and the white stripes holding us one next to the other! It was unforgatable!! hahaha. We can see all my best friends and two leaders: Renato (at the center) and Juliana (red skirt). Well I think I didn't forgot anything. Thanks for reading this post.
Bye
alex