A Travellerspoint blog

Learning the Lingo

We Brits have a hugely embarrassing reputation for monolingualism but *NEWSFLASH*, you don’t have to follow the crowd! You can make all the excuses you like for not having good enough lessons at school or whatever, but at the end of the day, it comes down to laziness. Yes, I said it and I’ll say it again – LAZINESS.
If you want the full immersive experience of another culture (and why wouldn’t you? If you’re looking for 5 star hotels, find another blog.), you need to speak the local language. Even just a few phrases, the real basics – you can pick those up on the plane. But where languages are concerned, I want to go the whole hog. Plus I’m going to be in a pretty rural area, so it’s going to be somewhat necessary. So, about 5 months ago, I bought myself the Rosetta Stone Hindi kit and set to.
I swear by Rosetta Stone. Yes, they’re pricey (but hang around for an offer before you buy, they come around quite frequently), but I do 15 – 20 minutes work a day and already I can do past, present, future and conditional tenses. Sure, my vocab’s not great, but I reckon I can deal with everyday situations, provided that the other interlocutor doesn’t get too chatty. What I can’t do, however, is write. That’s going to take a bit more work and a patient tutor.
Hindi is not considered a ‘hard’ language. It may appear to be a load of squiggles, but remember, once upon a time the latin alphabet was a load of squiggles to you, and you’re obviously coping with it pretty well. It’s not like Chinese, Korean, Arabic etc. in that you have to start totally again with the basic concepts of what language is, rather it is an Indo-European language and therefore related to our own. You’d recognise verb forms, direct and indirect objects and so on, and of course words like टेलीविज़न (television), plus it’s more or less phonetic, once you’ve deciphered the squiggles. I wouldn’t recommend it as your first foreign language, but if you’ve mastered something European and you’ve got the knack of language learning, then there’s nothing stopping you from giving it a go.

Posted by PhilippaW 22:08 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged children culture india volunteering activities udaipur exchange classes wwoofing Comments (0)

Visa chaos

Sooo... visas. We need them, but they're a lot of hassle. I seriously had no idea quite how much hassle. Let me just run you by the kerfuffle so far:

Approximately 6 weeks ago: I sent off all the bits and pieces (including £300, bleurgh) for an Employment visa.

3 days later: All my paper work was sent back to me, with a note telling me to start again and apply for an Entry visa, especially for internships. I then spent a week fighting for a refund on the non-refundable Employment visa, with success. Yay! (Tip, don't take that rubbish lying down, of course they can refund you.)

10 days later: I finally have all the various bits of paper and letters from Asha Parivar to support my Entry visa. Success, surely?

... silence from Radio Visa... The High Commission phone continues to ring... it costs me 95p per minute each time I call VFS (the pre-screening company)...

Last week: Oh wait! You DO need an Employment visa! Please resend us all the things you've already sent us, plus a load of extra stuff! *Cue tears of frustration*

Today, with two weeks to go... I haven't seen my passport in weeks. They have all the required documents, but haven't confirmed that they have. Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhka\wryn;o\iewutorthakjdshfn\skjt.

Watch this space for if I actually make it or not.

Posted by PhilippaW 22:06 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged children culture india volunteering activities udaipur exchange classes wwoofing Comments (0)

In the Beginning...

India travel plans

Before launching off on how everything's going, I should probably tell you a little bit more about what I'm doing, and why.

On the 2nd September 2013 (visa permitting... more on that later), I shall be jetting off to India for 6 months. I'll be spending the first three weeks with the DAAN Foundation (daanfoundation.org) in Udaipur, doing a Cultural Exchange. After that, I'll move to Lucknow for the next four months to work with Asha Parivar (ashaparivar.org), a charity who works to ensure that the government's Welfare Programmes are carried through to grass-roots level. For the last two weeks, I'll be travelling up to Assam with my parents.

So, why am I doing all this?

Aside from working with two very good causes, there are a few reasons for doing this trip:

1) I've spent the last 4 years studying Indian pre- and post-colonial history (with an emphasis on gender studies), so want to go and be part of post-colonial development in action.

2) I come from a pretty colonial background and want to firmly bring it to a close. My mum was born in India when my grandparents were living out there and had the whole servants and ayah shabang. My great-great-however many times grandfather was Pretorius, who founded Pretoria in South Africa and so I imagine was pretty instrumental in a lot of shizzle that went down there. I'm not ok with that.

3) I'm a linguist and fancy learning something non-European, and the best way to do that is always in situ. That means living and working with local people, so why do not do that while doing something worthwhile?

So, I'll be doing my best to keep you updated with what goes on up to and during my trip!

Posted by PhilippaW 16:00 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged children culture india volunteering activities udaipur exchange classes wwoofing Comments (0)

(Entries 21 - 23 of 23) « Page 1 2 3 4 [5]