Port Said, Egypt :: Crewmembers and visitors share their experiences of language practice sessions on board Logos Hope.
A popular event during Logos Hope’s time in Port Said has been the language practice sessions. Visitors could choose to connect with a native speaker from a variety of languages, including Spanish, German, French, Korean and English.
It was a love of languages and culture that drew some to the language practices. One local woman said, “We have a language club! A group of friends who teach English, Korean, French, Mandarin and Spanish through online content and offline workshops. I’m passionate about languages and I love the idea of exchanging vocabulary and culture, so I came today to practise my English and get to know people from multiple cultures and backgrounds. It was interesting!”
Another local woman added, “I tried to learn more than one language like Turkish, Italian, Spanish and Korean, but I didn’t continue because I didn’t have anyone to practise with. I am intending to visit many countries, so I need to speak as many languages as I can to understand everything.”
Other locals simply wanted to practice languages they knew with native speakers. A local woman shared, “I learnt German at university, but I haven’t met any native German speakers here in Egypt. Usually I practise with people online, but I like speaking with other people. It was fantastic to practise here with native speakers. I wanted to spend as much time in the class as I could.”
It was also a special experience for crewmembers. The space allowed them to share with attendees in their own mother tongue, but also to learn Arabic phrases and Egyptian culture from local people. Heather (UK) said, “They had the language skills, so it ended up being more of a cultural exchange. Language was at the core, but it was a bridge builder for friendship, understanding and breaking down stereotypes and prejudices. We talked about food, where people live, where we would like to travel, cultural differences and we laughed a lot.”
Michelle (Austria) said, “It was a great way to connect with local people and their culture. We learnt a lot of Arabic words and what their meanings were. My favourite part was when an Egyptian girl came and spoke German just as fluently as us!”
This passion for language and the cultural exchange made it possible for real and lasting connections to be made.