For Benjamin, newly joined Business Developer at Gymglish, it seems each language he has learned corresponds to a different phase in his life.
He learned German when he was a child, English when he was in school, and Italian for career purposes. For him, learning languages is a natural process – it’s not just about learning the language, but also learning about the culture behind it.
Hello Benjamin! When did your love for foreign languages begin?
My father (who is French) absolutely loves Germany and everything related to German culture. Thanks to him, I was brought up with German as a second language, and I learned it in record time. German gave me structure and helped me in all my future language learning endeavors.
I discovered English in high-school. I studied both German and English up until the Baccalauréat and ended up completing a Bachelor’s Degree in modern languages (“Langues Etrangères Appliquées”), during which I studied Business Law in English and German. I then enrolled at Kedge Business School in Marseille. At the end of my studies, I had the opportunity to travel to Italy to complete a six-month internship.
… but you didn’t speak a word of Italian!
Exactly! In 2005, I arrived in the medieval town of Ascoli Piceno, home to 40,000 people and located in Italy’s Marches region, just off the Adriatic coast. I worked in a factory specialized in packaging and I had to learn the local language fast. Fortunately, my company offered Italian language courses for beginners, I started hanging out with Italian locals and …I ended up staying in Italy for 3 years!
What does Italian mean to you?
It’s my favorite language, I loved learning it and I loved learning about Italian culture even more. During my time in the country, I wanted to blend in as much as possible, lose my bearings and (above all) lose my French accent.
I quickly understood that learning Italian was going to be useful for my everyday life, but I came to realize that it could also help in my future career. As it happened, when I moved back to France, I was offered a job thanks to my proficient level of Italian.
Which language are you most comfortable with today?
Apart from French, I believe I feel most comfortable with Italian. I love how expressive the language is, and I’m simply unable to express so many emotions in another language. It’s funny because I feel like each language brings out a different side of my personality. Each new language I learn helps me get to know myself, and I find that really valuable.
What are the next steps in your language learning process?
In the future, I’d like to learn Farsi (predominant language in Iran and one of Afghanistan’s official languages). It’s a beautiful language and I can’t wait to learn it.
Passionate about languages? Want to take part in the Gymglish adventure? Click here!