Monday, July 26, 2010

Language barriers and social exclusion

Being a new cultural and linguistic environment where you may have some basic knowledge of the local language but can't fluently converse can be really alienating. It reminds me of previous experiences of migration, knowing no English when I reached NZ when I was 6, hearing people speak gibberish and having nobody to translate and explain what things mean, I had to adapt really quickly. But being an adult overseas in a country where the languages you know can be spoken but it is easier for people to still speak their native language with each other when you are around, it makes you feel a bit like a fly on the wall, part of the scenery and not knowing what's going on around you. People don't speak to you, they speak around you. Just part of the scenery, seen but not heard.

It makes me feel like a new migrant again, like a child trying to make sense of the world around them, again.

Thanks Germany and the White German Left.

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