The Trouble With Being Young

As a high school student and aspiring polyglot, I am often faced with the obstacle of having few resources at my disposal for the practice of foreign language. This is largely due to my age. It’s kind of hard to have a real conversation with older people (by older, I mean at least 10 years older than me) . Let me list off the biggest ones:

1. Not being able to drive to places. Of course, this is easily remedied by actually learning to drive, once you’re 15 & 1/2, anyway.

2. Not having money. Again, this is remedied by getting a job, but if you’re a so-called, “AP Student,” like I am, this is still difficult.

3. Getting lessons. Even when you do have money to spare, it’s not like the classes are cheap. Of course you could teach yourself, but you only get so far.

4. Not being taken seriously. Learning a language is serious endeavor, and requires commitment, but even if you do, people who might be able to help you out may think otherwise.

5. Getting real-world experience. Finding native speakers wherever you live is half the battle. It’s even harder trying to get to the place that native speakers come from, because studying abroad is hugely out of the question in high school (at least for me anyway), and you can’t exactly buy a plane ticket on whim.

6. Parents. We love them dearly (I hope), but sometimes they just don’t understand or they’re trying to help you focus on what they believe to be higher priorities. Other times they’re not willing to or don’t think they can spare money. There is very little you can about this, and I would say it is inadvisable to try and negotiate. They might provide some support for your wanting to learn other languages, but that’s probably as far as most might go.

So, that’s my bit for this post. If you have any comments, do post them!

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sr3934@nyu.edu

I'm a student studying at NYU, hoping to pursue a career in diplomatic services, and I'm obsessed with learning and teaching foreign languages. I like to practice Taekwondo, enjoy Square Enix video games, and engage in Asian-American social activism and international political activism.

  • There are websites that allow you to search for a conversation partner who you can then engage with online, in this way physical location isn’t a factor. Less ideal than face-to-face conversation (in my opinion), but maybe better than nothing?