My name is Michaela and I’m Czech. I work in tourism, so now we are a little bit struggling, but for the rest it’s an amazing environment for using language skills.
I learnt English at school. I started with EN at the age of 7 in elementary school. It was the typical school language classes, so I basically learnt a lot of grammar, but I was always very shy to speak. When I was 13, I applied for Czech-Italian high school and this is how my love for Italian started. I studied intensively as we also had school subjects as chemistry, physics, history etc. in Italian.
I love books and one particular book was a reason for me to start to study Japanese. For my 14th birthday I got Memoirs of Geisha from Arthur Golden and I fell in love with it. In the text you could see some cultural things of Japan and also some Japanese words. They looked nice to me, so I started to search for more info about Japan and Japanese. Shortly after I subscribed for Japanese classes in Czech-Japanese Association in Prague. The lessons were in EN with an amazing Japanese sensei, so I was practicing EN too. I am still learning Japanese and I kind of feel still at the same level and I am not able to communicate in Japanese. It’s probably because I am really shy and afraid of making mistakes and maybe offending some Japanese speaker by using some incorrect words or so.
When I finished my high-school studies, I applied for Sinology, Japanology and Italianistics. I didn’t pass the exam for Sinology at all, I was the 2nd person under the acceptance line for the Japanese studies, so I was not accepted but I was accepted to Italianistics. And I think it was the correct destiny.
During my Italian studies I went 2x for Erasmus, once in Verona and once in Naples. I wanted to see the difference between north and south of Italy. I really enjoyed it and the second Erasmus (the Neapolitan one) even opened widely my eyes. I had Turkish flatmates for the first semester and Spanish flatmates for the second one. I started to be interested also in Turkish, but at the end I am still keeping it for the future. I learnt a few words and I am happy to be able to say hi and thank you In future I want to study Turkish and be able to speak to my friends.
Since I was about 12 years old, I started to be interested in Spanish as there were a lot of soap operas in TV and Spanish just sounded so nice to me. But then I was focused on Italian for a big part of my life, so I never deeply studied Spanish. Now it’s been 2 years that I am actually attending some classes and I am moving with my knowledge, but very slowly. My struggle is this:
What if bcs of Spanish I will ruin my knowledge of Italian? It’s actually weird … everybody would expect that if you know Italian, it’s so easy for you to learn Spanish and Portuguese and maybe even French and Romanian, but my brain is somehow blocking the knowledge of Italian while speaking Spanish. Partially probably also bcs I am afraid to offend Spanish speakers by saying “aaah in Italian it is this, so it makes sense”. I did it a few times automatically and the people didn’t appreciate it
So basically I understand about 75 % of Spanish content, but I am not able to reply fluently and correctly at the same time.
During my 30y life I studied English, Italian, Spanish, German (my level is probably A2), Portuguese probably A1, Japanese hardly N5, French A1, Russian which I started to study in Verona probably level A2.
I went for 2 lessons of Chinese which I would love to learn, but I feel like I would have to be good in singing to learn the tones. The tones are my biggest fear and when the professor told me “well yeah, mmmm ok it will get better” with the face like … this is lost case, I stopped to go for the classes thinking that I am probably not good for it. Then I did like 2-3 lessons of Turkish, I studied Latin at the Uni, but I forgot it all. I would also love to learn Korean because of their lovely alphabet (I know it sounds crazy). Oh and I did one semester of Greek as I have some Greek friend. But I got somehow blocked.
Currently I am focused on Spanish and when I have time, I try to continue by myself with Japanese.
I hope I didn’t make you fall asleep with my monologue and if you read it all, I thank you for your time.