One super cool thing about studying Chinese in Taiwan was that I was in class with people from all around the world. I have been friendly enough to befriend some of them and now have a list of places I can go visit. In Utrecht, Vienna, Cape Town, Moscow, Seoul, or Kyoto I can visit a friend.
You may not think this is a money saving idea, but you’d be wrong. First, having friends is valuable and you can’t put a price on friendship. But why this could save you money is on travelling. I have travelled to Sao Paulo and was able to stay at a friend’s apartment. This saved money and time as I was located closer to my other friends who were kind enough to take me around the city.
I think my next stop will be Vienna, maybe as soon as December if my new friends are available. Having our airline miles crest a half-million I think I can figure out a way to fly there for free and hopefully get an affordable hotel.
Why you should make friends all over the world is because you will get to learn more about other’s cultures. Taking a vacation is great but you will not get to learn as much as speaking with a local. I know more about Russia and Austria than I did before and if I were to visit I could get a more local perspective rather than leaving thinking the food was OK and the museums expensive.
One day I’d like to have children and I hope they want to learn other languages otherwise I’ll have to force it on them. If they are learning French then it would be excellent to send them to France to visit someone I already know, or even have a penpal, or whatever freaky future equivalent exists then, to communicate with. Thinking way ahead here, but this would be cool.
It is nice to see your friends especially when you can host them or visit them in a foreign land It is not easy to make international friends, but going to a language program sure was helpful. Getting to know people from all over broadens your ideas so go find some new friends.