Learning a language is not enough. Learn a culture instead.
Before leaving Italy, everybody would praise me for my good English-speaking skills. As soon as I landed in the US the situation changed dramatically.
I began to appreciate how hard it is to really express your feelings and emotions in another language.
After 5+ years in the US, I learned a lot, and even though I have no problem using English to express my ideas for naming, brand positioning and copywriting, the situation gets far more complicated in my everyday life, when I need to express my feelings or pass on a concept quickly.
See, it’s not just about learning a language. The language is just a code to put words together, but people don’t just share language, they share history, experience, and culture.
Even in your own language, have you ever noticed how easier is to express yourself and be understood by your best friend than by a person you just met?
Of course you and your best friend have shared more experiences together and have built more common grounds, maybe even your own expressions, mutual tone of voice and way of saying things. In some cases it can be very easy to talk to a person you just met, but normally it’s because somehow you had similar experience, have mutual interests, and share the same way to see life.
Now you tell me, if I had never watched Swingers, how would I even begin to imagine to tell my barber when I get my hair cut: “Giovanni, this haircut has to be so money you don’t even know it.”