I’m not afraid

By Anna Makarenko. Anna is 19 years old. She studies at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. She lives in Kyiv, Ukraine.

How many things do Education and Fear have in common? A lot. Exams, speeches in front of an unknown audience and different projects are only one side of the coin. Real life begins when you decide to make a step into the world of real knowledge. I paid a high price to understand it, but nevertheless my experience will always be my riches. Let me tell you a short story about one young girl who regardless of all circumstances overcame herself. She studied foreign languages in the University of Kyiv, lived an ordinary life and dreamed about the real conquer of herself. After the third year of study she gained such opportunity. It was called Erasmus Mundus. It’s clear as noonday that for the major parts of Europe such kind of program is a usual practice, but in the case of the girl it was a hard-to-win-chance. There were some reasons: extremely poor information about the program, fear and strong conviction that you don’t know anything. I’m sure that those who devote their life to the study of foreign languages would understand her. When you try to explain your thoughts in some other language you need much more time to find the right word (I omit all the problems with grammar). Also the pronunciation, order of sentences and use of strict phrases can take all your attention. But the most evident obstacle for the girl was native speakers. I do not have any intention of offending them, but they are the highest and the scariest mountain for those who want to communicate in other languages. There is always an example of a language which can be reached not by many. Every day you see the right direction, your errors, but the way seems to be endless. When there was an opportunity to discuss something with the foreigners, she preferred to keep silent. The girl didn’t like to corrupt such a beautiful language as Italian. So every time Italians were really surprised why she had nothing to tell about. Nevertheless the girl continued to study grammar and write some little articles. When Erasmus appeared in her life, she often repeated: “Well, I’m mad of Italian, but how can I live in another country where all mistakes will be evident to everyone? I’m not good at speaking and it can cause a lot of misunderstandings in a foreign university. Also the translation from English into Italian is a serious challenge”. Anyway she didn’t want to change the plans. There should be the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe this very one turn is not the last, but it takes one closer to success (and to the fluent speaking). Finally, she got the opportunity to study in one of the Italian universities. All your prejudice and fear cannot take place there. You have no choice: speak, discover something new about the language or … nothing. As you have guessed, the girl was me. One month is left in Italy. I said goodbye to many doubts, but my skills need an improvement. Keep studying is my point now. All the problems, fears and doubts are only in our minds. You see, I discovered the writing competition only some hours ago. If I don’t want to miss the deadline there is no time to use sloppy words. Some time ago I couldn’t write articles without somebody’s help. At the moment I’m alone in my room and desire is the only one thing to help me. Being far away from home, I repeat again and again to all my friends the most evident thing in our life: never be afraid of something new. Overcome the prejudice, discover the world and yourself.

(I know, that they will never read my articles, but nevertheless I want to say “Thank you very much” to all Italian, British and American singers for the practice of language. Among them Eminem gave me back the love of English! I just try to understand and remember all he says and my heart beats faster).

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