My time abroad has sadly come to an end. Siberia and Brazil have given me a sensational, albeit peculiar, year. I've managed to squeeze in an array of activities, from television appearances and rides on snowmobiles, to burning on sandy beaches and experiencing World Cup hospitality. Of course, my two destinations couldn't have been more different. The weather jumps out as the starkest contrast between Tomsk and Rio, but in terms of language, culture, people and more, these two places have almost nothing in common. However, despite all this, I shall attempt to answer the million-dollar question: which did you prefer?
There’s no denying that my degree is unusual. The combination of languages is a strange one, which usually evokes a surprised or confused reaction. Of the languages offered at Bristol, I couldn’t have chosen two that contrast more. Russian, with its Slavic roots, aspectual verb pairs and approximately 57 different words meaning ‘to go’, has very few similarities with Portuguese, a plethora of subjunctive constructions and complex tenses.
English is the world’s most global language. The reach of the English language all over the world is incomparable. Yes, speakers of Mandarin thoroughly outnumber Anglophones, but the significance of English can be felt everywhere, from a quiet Uruguayan seaside town all the way to a bustling hostel in Nanjing. Taking this into account, why would a native English speaker want to learn other languages?