I’ve been on the road for a few months now, and it seems that everyone I meet has lived in many places and speaks many languages.
You get cities like Montreal that are genuinely bilingual – every local I came across spoke both fluent French and English. But Europeans seem to be incredibly multilingual. All Germans I’ve met speak great English, as do the Belgians and Swiss. Heck, I’ve met people that speak 4 or 5 languages, even though they only need one or two to get by.
It kind of makes me shameful for only speaking one language. It is motivating me to learn another language, although which one I’m not sure yet.
But it has also made me think if I can get away with English as the only language I speak for the rest of my life. Will it always be the universal language?
And yet I also feel a bit self entitled – everyone is expected to speak my language, but I’m not expected to speak theirs. I see their struggle trying to communicate in English, and yet they always offer to speak in English, because their English is always many times better than my ability in their native language.
So thank you world for teaching English as the universal language and allowing me to get by with it.