During the summer break (2017), I went to London to attend UAL (University of Arts London) summer short course. It was a short (3 week)course for 10-12th grade students to explore art and get an experience of learning art in an art university.
It was my first time to visit London, and Europe in a long-time period. However, since I have been learning English from when I was young, it was not a challenge for me to encounter to talk to foreigners in English. Although, during the summer program, none of the people were from England, since the coarse was intended for international students.There were varieties and diversity in the nationality. Students were all required to stay in the dorm all together. Therefore, I needed to communicate with people in order to live. Most of the people were able to speak English to a certain level, but they were not fluent. Therefore, I have code-switched my English and have been using easier terminology for effective communication. However, there were people who did not completely understand English (or only know the basic minimum terminology), which made us difficult to verbally communicate with only common language of English. Although this sounds very crucial, the actual experience did not involve much issues. We were able to communicate without language by using visual strategies (drawing) or using physical communication (acting it out). In serious cases, we got help from other people who were bilingual and was capable of translating my language to theirs.
This experience have influenced my thinking of language and communication in two ways. One is the importance of language, since I was able to communicate with my peers and to share and acquire knowledge. Another point that have altered my thinking of language and communication is that common language is not DEMANDED in communication. I strongly felt the most significant component in communication is our mind. If we have the strong desire, enthusiasm, or interest to understand their(who does not share common language) idea, it makes us find and explore strategies for us to communicate without using verbal language. Therefore, I felt that language and communication is not only about sharing common language and verbally communicating. It is not about the shape and form of communication. Rather it’s about communicating from our mind, and the level of eagerness you have in communication. Communication is about passing idea, and not just about verbally spoken common language.