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Polish & Scandinavian languages

In the early 1980s, India had a good economic and trade relations with East European countries. This was also accompanied by cultural and student exchanges. I got a chance to study in Poland and first studied the language at the language school for foreign students. It was one of the most interesting periods of my life. Learning a new language with other foreign students was a very thrilling experience. It was a demanding but very effective course. After one year, I was able to attend my Freshman Year college classes in Economics. Also, not many people in Poland spoke English in those days, so I was simply forced to speak Polish all the time. It was my best learning period in life. I lived in a hostel with all my Polish friends and picked up the language rather quickly and quite well. 

However, in those days, Poland was also undergoing a political change situation and the economy was in a bad shape. Like many other Poles, I too looked for a temporary job elsewhere. By dint of luck and the necessity to earn some more money, I found a summer job in Stockholm, Sweden, I worked in Stockholm during the summer holidays at a youth hostel, where I met many interesting young travelers and adventurers. During these years, I became familiar with Stockholm and also met some Indian students studying there. After completing my Master's degree in Poland, I got admission for further studies in Sweden. Since I was familiar with basic Swedish from my earlier days and also because Swedish belongs to the Germanic group of languages (like English), it was not very difficult to learn and so I picked up good Swedish skills. After three years at the Stockholm University, I participated in a joint Nordic course which demanded traveling to Norway and Denmark frequently. I became familiar not only with the people but also picked up the rather similar Norwegian and Danish languages.

From my personal experience of learning foreign languages, I learnt that one needs to have a genuine interest in learning, treat this learning as a primary hobby, pick up new words and phrases and perhaps the most important one, never be afraid of making mistakes.

That is my piece of advice for all those students wìlling to learn a foreign language with us.


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Basab Bose