Why Study a Foreign Language on Short Notice?

So here I am with eight weeks to go before I’m in Kiev, Ukraine, to spend a week teaching a philosophy course. Ukraine is divided linguistically. In the western half, Ukrainian is the language of choice. But in the east, including Kiev, it’s Russian. Some of the students will be proficient in English. For all of my presentations I’ll have an interpreter. My host has sent me a single page of “key words and phrases” he thinks I should know. So it’s obvious no one expects me to be able to speak Russian like a Cossack when I get there.

On the other hand, I genuinely enjoy studying foreign languages. It’s hard but rewarding work—especially if you have sufficient time and you have the opportunity to visit a country where the language is spoken “officially.” I could recount the many advantages to learning a foreign language. But here’s my question and I welcome your advice: Why study a foreign language on such short notice?

I’m looking for advice from people who believe it’s a good idea. In a separate post, I’ll beseech my readers for practical tips on learning a language in a hurry. But the first tip I would give myself is this: Have a good reason, and know what that reason is; the more reasons the better. That’s where you can help me. Load me up with the best reasons to go for it!

I have some ideas of my own, of course. And once I’ve had the chance to sort out the advice you send me, I’ll post it for all those in the same boat (there must be at least three or four out there).

About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

7 Responses to Why Study a Foreign Language on Short Notice?

  1. Doug Geivett says:

    I like Cars, too. Horton and some of the others we have and continue to enjoy.


  2. Maggie says:

    Thank you,Doug. Do you have those movies? Oh,I also forgot to tell you that I also like Cars and Mamma Mia The Movie.


  3. Doug Geivett says:

    Maggie, you know how to pick ’em. Those are great movies.

    How did you find my blog?


  4. Maggie says:

    Hey Doug,

    My other favorite movies are Ratatouille,The Tale of Despereaux,WALL-E,Kung Fu Panda,and Wallace and Gromit:The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.


  5. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Maggie,

    I haven’t seen deleted scenes from Horton Hears a Who.

    What are some of your other favorite movies?


  6. Maggie says:

    I loved the Horton Hears A Who! movie! My favorite part was that Horton tries to get the clover back from Vlad and finds it. My favorite character is Horton the elephant. I also liked the deleted scenes,my favorite deleted scene is Horton snoring. That movie really warmed my heart ever since I watched it,like they said it’s a heart-warming story and an incredible ride. I also liked Horton Hatches The Egg,my favorite part is that Horton and the hunters say “Oh,no you can’t” and “Oh,yes we can”. I have the DVD.


  7. I think that it is a very interesting and amusing article. Practically all its main points are true.


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