When you don’t agree with the views/behaviors of the country for a language you’re learning

*these sentiments will be a little vague, so as not to target any specific country or gov’t, and to protect me as a writer*

I’m often interested in learning a new language based on a friendship I’ve made, or upcoming travels. I like to travel to places based on the general people, the sights to see, the food to eat, the music/movies/books, etc that come from the country. There are a few languages that I’m learning where I’m into all those things, but I don’t believe in the viewpoints and behaviors of the leadership that governs the country.

I mention the leadership, because usually the people of countries like this are kind and welcoming. They’re more open-minded than their gov’t, and don’t support some of the harsh actions of their country.

I’m American, and I know that my own country is far from perfect. In my 31 years of life, I have already disagreed with many of the decisions that my gov’t has made regarding wars, capitalism, immigration, etc, the list goes on.

How do you decide to learn the language of a country that isn’t welcoming or you may never visit? I decide to learn these languages because I want to get to know the people. Because I like the language itself, and it’s fun to learn! I’m having fun discovering the online content that I now have access to through the language. Even if I don’t visit the country, I’m happy learning it from afar.

Learning the language doesn’t mean that I automatically stand with their actions and support their beliefs. I can continue to be open-minded, and disagree with any of their gov’t’s harmful actions.

For one of the languages that I’m learning in particular, I tend to receive many questions like this:

“Oh, you’re learning X Language, but isn’t the country communist? Don’t they eat dogs there? Don’t they imprison people and make them disappear?”

I do my best to respond honestly, saying yes that some of these things happen or are true. But I’m learning the language because it’s fun to learn, and I have a friend who lives there as well and their viewpoints don’t reflect the gov’t. That the people from this country who I’ve gotten to know are open-minded, curious about the world around them, and they look forward to change in a better direction some day.

This might be a more tense topic than I typically write about, but I wanted to address it! It occasionally comes up in the online language learning community, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

Alla prossima xx 

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