30 by 30 · Bucket List · Memories · Travel

#30by30 learning a foreign language

I was thinking hard on the 30 things that I should do and the things that I have done. This is yet another throwback that made it. 

I picked up French back in 2007 when I was in NUS as part of my major. And I was one out of the small group of students who did EU studies. I think my cohort had less than 20 of us? In retrospect I don’t think it was a bad choice. It may not be the best choice but I’m glad I made it out pretty ok. And definitely not a teacher as many of my counterparts are. Because I cannot do it for nuts!

Prior to that I had no experience with the language. I wasn’t one of those who took French as a third language in O levels so this was a completely new experience for me. And unlike other courses, the modules in French were extremely time consuming. I was from FASS in NUS and most modules were made up of 2 hours lecture and an alternate week of a 2 hour tutorial. (Funny how writing about it make me miss it a little) But French was 2x 2hour lecture and a 2 hour tutorial per week! The only good thing out of it was that there was no exams ☺️

When I got to my final French module needed to get my degree (God knows how hard it was at this time already for some reason), I was honestly tired and I guess the only thing on my mind was get it over and done with. 

Truth is, I haven’t had any practice with French since I graduated because I obviously am working here in sunny Singapore and my only French friends are on my Facebook and many time zones away. French is not easy at all. Everything about it is not easy and using Google translate is not right because sometimes words and phrases lose their meaning. I’ve seen people using the wrong phrases🙊 but let’s not be a bitch about it shall we? 

On a sidenote, I spoke to a German lecturer (due to a stupid stupid mixup I ended up taking German level 1 too please don’t laugh) and she mentioned that Malay people actually speak German natürlich. Because of the way we pronounce our Malay words I guess? But when I met her it was really too late to change my choice so…

The best thing that came out of this? I managed to get my ass into France for an exchange program. It was scary as hell going overseas (it was my first time ever travelling so far) and to a place where I heard so much about people hating on English speakers (actually they don’t, at least not in Grenoble). What an adjustment I had to make. This trip was also one of the reasons why I end up flying, I caught the travel bug 😁 

I’ve also dug up these three photos of things you don’t normally see in Singapore. 


En greve means to be on stike
i put my milk, yogurt and sometimes cheese and berries on my windowsill to keep them chilled
mountain views 🙂
Now I’m glad my French books are put to good use by my girlfriend Elaine, who’s picking up French. She has good reason too, since her boyfriend and family speaks French. I think picking up a third language is a good thing, because it doesn’t only challenge us intellectually, it broadens our views and minds because of all the new culture and people we share our knowledge with 🙂

Think global ! 😁

Perhaps in the years to come I’ll consider getting myself re-certified and sit for the DELF/DALF at Allianz. 

Would I do this all over again? Yes I would. Maybe not France, maybe some place else. Some place cold too. 

I also dream of bringing B to Grenoble because that’s where it all started for us 😂😂😂


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