Thoughts From A Travelling Club Manager
By Jim Callahan – Fun Languages Club Manager, Melbourne
“I have just returned from a month working in remote areas of Madagascar as an English/French interpreter and many aspects of my time there left a lasting impression.
Principal among those is how difficult life is for the majority of the population, who struggle every day just to access those things we consider as a given in Australia (safe water, electricity, work, basic health care).
What I also noticed was that, despite the generally low education levels (many children leave school after Yr 6 to work to help support their families) and illiteracy being a major problem, many of the people, both children and adults, could still manage a bit of spoken French in addition to their native dialect.
It demonstrated how knowing even just a few words in another person’s language can allow you a shared moment together. It also got me thinking about the old adage ‘use it or lose it’ and how our language clubs are a great weekly environment for ‘using it’!