For New Year’s resolutions or even weekends, our attention often turns towards self-care and well-being. If it’s physical well-being, we promise ourselves to work out more, eat healthier, consume less alcohol or sweets. Spiritually, maybe we want to read, meditate, or pray more. Finally, for emotional well-being we long for human connection: we want to spend more time with our loved ones, to invest more into new relationships or even into ourselves. We need to be connected to ourselves as well as to other people. That's when we feel good: when we’re connected to other people, when we enjoy where we live and feel that we belong here.
Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to a happy life, that we don't go into right now, such as living a purposeful life, feeling challenged and appreciated. But a key element to happiness and well-being is to feel at home, no matter where we are. This has much more to do with connecting to people than anything else. That’s why we say: “home is where your heart is”. And learning the local language is crucial when it comes to putting your heart where you are, to connecting with your environment on a deep level. Ask yourself why you want to learn the language. If it’s just to obtain a certification and add that to your resumé, then it’s no wonder that you’re not very excited about it. After all, it’s just a means to a means to an end, which makes it rather abstract and long-term. And, what’s worse, it limits all the wonderful ways in which knowing German can positively impact your life.
Have you ever considered that learning a language is also part of self-care and helps you feel better, just like having a massage, getting your hair done or going to the gym?
If that sounds surprising, I invite you to reflect on how learning German could improve your well-being and life right now, in a practical and immediate way. Try to think about learning the local language from a different perspective: do you want to learn it in order to feel that you belong here, to connect to local people or their music, to make yourself understood in the shops instead of starting with "Sorry, I don't speak German" ? To not force the people around you to switch the conversation language just for you? If you visualize yourself successfully using the language in your daily life, with real people and in real situations, how does that make you feel? What emotions are elicited? Once you adopt this mindset, you will want to learn German in order to gain confidence and ease in these situations that were once uncomfortable. Instead of feeling alienated and disconnected when people speak a language that you don’t know, to be able to understand them and thus to connect. To feel more present and more at home. Ultimately, to feel so much better.
Once you'll start feeling how learning the local language contributes to well-being, that will make it more real and give you a different motivation to pursue it. The downside, however, is that we don’t always prioritize well-being and we easily put it on the side whenever we get busy, just like you cut out a massage because of a work appointment. Especially if that element of well-being doesn't feel good and only adds to the stress, like a strenuous working out session. You know that it’s beneficial for you and that you’ll feel good afterwards, but you don’t enjoy the sweat. Similarly, if you don't look forward to learning German as a process in itself but just to the end of the journey, if the classes are boring, time-demanding but not rewarding, it will probably be the first thing you take out from your schedule to make time for other commitments.
We care about you achieving your learning goals as well as prioritizing your well-being. That's why the UNUmondo German sessions feel like wellness sessions: they’re not stressful and they’re not a struggle. They don't make you sweat (unless you want to), but smile. For some of our clients, they’re even the highlight of the week. We want you to enjoy the session in itself: the connection with your coach, the stimulating conversation, and the situations that you successfully navigate in German with the help of your coach. Thus, you don’t only add to your knowledge of the language, you add to your well-being in general. Just like you would by having a meaningful exchange over a cup of coffee with a friend. Learning German with UNUmondo means taking care of yourself.