Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lunch at the International Table

(Stories. Voting. Polls to the left. January 19. You know the rest ;)

Another thing I would like to put in my pocket and take home with me: language tables in the diner. Turns out we have Tavola Italiana and Mesa Espanol and however it's called in German. Spanish should be the biggest and most popular - but it looks like students around here don't want to torture their brains with foreign languages outside class, let alone during lunch. In a totally packed, crowded, crazy diner the only table with empty chairs is the Mesa Espanol. Not that I mind.
All the international students (who have no choice but to torture their brains with English every day during meals and everywhere else... so switching to Spanish or Italian or German doesn't really make a difference) gather around these small islands of food, friendship and fun. Today it was our dear teacher from Bulgaria, two girls from China, two of us from Hungary and another teacher from Spain.
The conversation is lively and multicolored - one Chinese girl does not speak Spanish but speaks French, Dani does not speak Spanish but speaks Italian, the two of us speak Hungarian, the girls speak Chinese, and when we have absolutely no idea what the others are saying, we switch back to English.
Sounds like Babel? You bet! And it's more fun than any other thing you could do during lunchtime.
I really, really don't get it why the American students avoid the language tables. The people are nice, helpful, and they wait patiently till you put a sentence together (maybe because they are munching their lunch); we talk about classes, movies, our homes, our family (so it's not like you have to follow a deep conversation about philosophy or politics in a second... third... fourth... language). We laugh a lot, and get lost in grammar and tenses and sometimes we mix up everything within one single sentence. But hey, it's part of the game!
In my opinion this is the ultimate way to learn a language.
(No no no I just can't close the post with that sentence. Urgh. Go again.)
Those American students have no idea what they are missing!

No comments:

Post a Comment