One thing I want to talk about is the language barrier. My co-workers all speak English and German pretty well, so theoretically, the language barrier really shouldn’t be an issue at all. However, I realized that while I frequently chat with some of my co-workers, others appear to be not interested in having a conversation with me at all. I was told not to worry about that, since it’s not me causing this behavior, but them being overly self-conscious about their foreign language skills, be it English or German. This is very interesting to me, because I behaved similarly when I first moved to the United States last fall. In the first few days, I was very quiet around my peers and didn’t make many connections with other people. I got better with that after a few weeks, but even towards the end of freshman year I wasn’t confident enough to ask questions in English in front of a large crowd (i.e. in a lecture hall) and still had a hard time participating in discussion sections. For some reason, I’m way more confident speaking English to non-native speakers like me than to native speakers. Regardless, I respect my co-workers for not wanting to talk to me in English when I’m the one coming to their country not knowing a single word in their language. However, I still feel more appreciated around the people that decide to talk to me. Some of my co-workers decide to even speak English to each other when I’m in the room, even if it’s about something completely unrelated from what I’m doing. Overall I feel very much integrated into the organization I’m working with, despite the language barrier.
- Getting The Hang Of Things Blog #2
- #1: A Day in the Philippines