Mark Twain said it well:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
He wasn’t talking about luxurious trips to relaxing resorts. He was talking about exposing ourselves to new cultures and people who see and experience the world differently than we do.
He was talking about cultivating empathy.
Learning a foreign language is one of the surest paths to greater empathy because it exposes you to entirely new cultures and viewpoints.
- Becoming fluent in another language has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
- It’s made me a happier and more empathetic person.
- It’s opened doors to personal and professional relationships with wildly interesting people who are nothing like me and who I otherwise would never have become friends with. Speaking their language created common ground and was the foundation of our bond.
Every team member at Parley Blue is passionate about what we do not only because foreign language fluency has drastically improved our own lives but because we see it as a means to improving society as a whole.
At Parley Blue, we imagine a less divided future where all our amazing differences still exist but they’re celebrated, not feared.
Learning from and appreciating the unique beauty and differences of other cultures doesn’t mean we have to dilute or abandon our own. Instead, we can consider the variations among groups and cultures as learning opportunities to discover different, and possibly better, ways to navigate through life.
Studying foreign language and immersing in new cultures has taught me to approach differences with empathy. Leading with empathy almost always reveals that we’re not so different in the end. We are all humans seeking similar goals but with nearly infinite variations on how we chase after those goals.
Learning a new language makes your journey towards life’s goals, whatever they may be, a little less lonely and a lot more fun.
Whether it’s 1-on-1 conversations with your language coach, or joining fellow students on a virtual happy hour group video call, Parley Blue’s true purpose is to cultivate authentic human connection through language.
After all, language is social.