Student Spotlight: How Hebrew Helped Nathan Avoid Quarantine Boredom

Tell us about yourself! What language are you learning and why did you choose to learn it? What are your goals?

I decided to start learning Hebrew a little over a year ago. I've always been interested and curious about languages. Growing up in a Franco-German bilingual environment, I later on added English to my list of interests. Learning Hebrew is a challenge because it's neither a Germanic nor a romance language. I wanted to challenge myself by learning something to which I had never had exposure.

My goal is simple: being able to have a basic conversation with native speakers, while also being to get around when traveling to Israel. It's important to me to try to speak a little bit of the language when traveling to a foreign country, versus expecting them to speak English.

Photo by Haley Black from Pexels

What’s your typical day like and how does Fluent City fit in? Do you do anything else to incorporate language learning into your daily life?

What is a typical day anymore? 2020 has definitely changed our definition of what a typical day is. I'm fortunate and grateful to still have a job. So of course, my primary focus is my job.

Fluent City is a pleasure at the end of the day or during the weekend. Thanks to my teacher’s great flexibility and understanding, I'm able to have a lesson a week, which is always something I look forward to. I wish I could say that I do many extra language-learning activities during the day, but unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to do so. I do what I assume many other students do: homework, tv shows, and music.

How do you think learning a language will change your connection with others?

Learning a new language is also learning a new culture. It's important to learn both, as it's a tool to understand others. Understanding others is what helps us grow as individuals and communicate respectfully.

I've always been curious about different cultures and languages. Learning a new language is also learning a different version of yourself. When you speak a different language, you communicate differently and show a different self to others. All that because of the words and syntax you use.

What impact has learning a language had on your life in the last few months?

Learning a language had an impact on my routine. Instead of watching tv and doing nothing during the quarantine at night, my brain stayed active and I felt challenged on a weekly basis. I never experienced boredom because I always had something to do during my down time. It also made me more curious about culture and history.

What's been your favorite socially distant activity to do with friends and family over the last few months?

Probably similar to other people - Zoom meetings with my friends and family. When things started reopening, Central Park picnics with social distancing. One thing I experienced during the last few months is how to reconnect/communicate with important people in my life. I realized that we used to take things for granted, and forgot how to actually talk to people.