Category Archives: Languages

Tips for traveling abroad and learning online

It’s time for me to give some tips on how to travel abroad and do some language learning online. Let me start by telling you what I did to get to the Netherlands:

  • Talk to people online! We live in a world where you have no excuse to not know tons of people from all over, especially if you engage in activities that are very global, like gaming or learning languages online! 😉 There are always tons of people to meet on sites with content you’re interested in. I run an IRC channel (Internet relay chat; basically multiplayer notepad with people from all over) filled with gamers and game makers, and this is where I met the friend I’ve stayed with for the longest in the Netherlands. A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet! Remember, this is the Internet, so unless you have your address or information posted somewhere, people can’t harm you physically, and you won’t ever meet in person unless you fully control the amount of time you’ve known them, the location, and the number of people around, unlike meeting strangers in real life in dodgy places like bars! People nowadays are afraid of meeting people on the Internet and of anyone who uses a computer, as if these friends don’t exist because the chat is over a machine (then telephone conversations aren’t with real people either! ;)). Don’t be one of them! Look at where being social online has gotten me: two trips to Europe so far totaling 3 months in which I didn’t pay one cent of rent or hotel fees!

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Most confusing words in the English language

English is a crazy language full of exceptions and confusing words. In this article I’ll try to clear up some of the most common misconceptions in the language that I’ve seen. This page will be updated as I think of more confusing words to add.

This vs. That

farther vs. further

“Farther” implies distance while “further” implies time. As you can imagine, these two are often interchangeable even though they don’t have the same meaning.
e.g. “He’s studied longer than me, but I know more than him, so he’s further along, but I am farther along.”

it’s vs. its

See “you’re vs. your”.

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Dutch friend in Florida

Whew! Hello!

My friend from the Netherlands is finally here! He arrived in Florida yesterday after 15 hours of travel from the Netherlands. I’m excited to say he’ll be staying with me for a bit. It’s really great seeing him again. 🙂

And there’s other good news about yesterday too, of course! By simply taking the chart from lernu.net (a site for Esperanto learners), rearranging it in the opposite direction (that is, switching the rows and columns), and putting the question words in an order that was easy to remember (who, what, where, when, how, why, etc.), I was successfully able to memorize the Esperanto correlatives; thus, that mission is complete! I also succeeded in another personal mission by its deadline, which was yesterday as well, so I’m feeling particularly swell. 🙂

My first major language breakthrough

Two nights ago I made a huge breakthrough in Dutch. When someone hears a language that they don’t speak, they’ll often think that the person speaking is doing so too quickly. More often than not, the listener’s ears are simply not attuned to discerning the sounds in that particular language. For me, this is no longer the case with Dutch, as my listening comprehension is catching up to my reading: I can now understand the individual words someone is speaking in Dutch instead of just hearing a jumble of sounds. This is a huge step in the right direction, and it came nearly all at once. I was studying my Lonely Planet Dutch phrasebook outside of my calculus class two days ago and found that, when I had come home and started listening to Dutch music, I could pick out individual words. I may not be able to spell them or even know what they mean, but I can’t complain!

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Gaining confidence in life through language

I’ve been learning a lot about my own emotions recently alongside my Dutch studies. I’m starting to put down on job applications and the like that I know enough Dutch to be able to handle merchandise-related issues and general customer service. Of course, this is unlikely to ever be needed, because most Dutch people speak English, especially if they live in the United States!

I like being more empathetic. As I progress in language and speaking to my friends about their problems, I’ve noticed that there’s barely anything I’m afraid of anymore when it comes to job duties. When I got my first job at Honey Baked Ham, I was insecure and unsure of my abilities. Now it seems so silly to me now to have been such a worrywart when all I had to do was ask if I had a question. Often times I did ask, but then would have a mental countdown in my head of how long I had to wait until I allowed myself to ask another. It was really a silly way of doing things, but it was better than never asking anything at all and screwing up people’s orders left and right!

Thus, my language endeavors have taught me confidence, and this confidence of course now extends to many other areas of my life! 🙂