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Reasons to Learn a Foreign Language

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Reasons to Learn a Foreign Language- written by Foreign Languages Teaching Staff CNIM
It's good to know at least one foreign dialect besides the one you're accustomed to, since traveling to a place that speaks the language will be easier for you to get around. The reasons to learn a foreign language will have you interested in picking up one of the commonly spoken languages worldwide.

Those who know nothing of foreign languages, know nothing of their own. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

How many languages do you speak? If your answer is one, then you need to wake up and look around you - the world is getting smaller and the citizens of the world are rapidly bridging the boundaries of language and even social / cultural differences. Learning a new language can mean broadening career opportunities, educational opportunities, enhancing global exchange of ideas and information and of course enjoying the beauty of a completely alien language by getting to know the grammatical as well as socio-cultural and historical aspects associated with it. Not just that. Learning a new language might also help to enhance your overall learning abilities and broaden your perspective while looking at the world. German, Japanese, Chinese, English, Hindi, Sanskrit, French, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish or any other language has its own rich knowledge base. Learning a foreign language sharpens our overall cognitive skills and helps in better understanding of several subjects and concepts associated with the language.

Learning a language is a multi-faceted learning experience, which enriches you in many ways. First of all learning a new language brings you closer to the origins of the language, and the cultural, historical and social associations of the language with its place of origin. Thus learning a language is like getting to know an entire cultural or social system, with references to the lifestyle, geography, history, arts, economy as well contemporary sociocultural practices including regional dialects and diversities, clothing style, as well as the culinary practices in the area where the language is spoken.

In addition to this, while you are learning about the culture and the language of a particular region you tend to compare it with your own language and culture. While doing this you think of the similarities and differences between your native language and the foreign language which leads to a deeper study of your own language and culture as well. Learning a new language also facilitates better understanding of grammar, sentence construction and overall linguistic aspects of your own language. Thus if you learn a new language, it will not only improve your linguistic scope but also help you to analyze and look at your own language in a deeper and different way.

Learning a new language is a great asset, which is highly valued in the era of globalization. It gives you an edge over others, as you become more equipped to face the global scenario than the people who have a limited set of linguistic skills for communication. In an age where business is crossing boundaries, foreign languages help to break the barriers of language and facilitate exchange of information. Business cannot remain limited owing to the language barriers and hence language experts who are well-versed with the multiple languages, help to promote and advertise the business in various countries using their knowledge of various dialects. In case you learn a foreign dialect it is possible for you to explore job opportunities that involve projects between different countries.

Forging new business ties and contacts for trade in various countries can only be possible with familiarity with each other's languages. Job opportunities for people who learn foreign dialects also include profiles like language translators and interpreters or travel guides in the tourism business. In case of international government and politics arena, the people who are conversant with the foreign languages also have a major role to play during important negotiations, meetings and can be well qualified to become ambassadors in outside countries.

As the world comes closer and all the nations come together to solve world issues, it is very important for people from across the world to understand each other's ideas and exchange information and suggestions. Although English is popularly known as a widely spoken and understood language in the world, it is still not the most widely spoken language in the world and there exist several nations that still are not conversant with it. People need to learn foreign languages in order to facilitate communication amongst several countries in the world. Hence if you wish to enhance the global understanding learning a foreign dialect can be an instrumental step in empowering the global mission for eradication of social and economic problems in the world.

At the end you must know that there are plenty of reasons to learn a foreign language, however, never learn a language only with an aim to grab a job opportunity. There are many people who learn a new language for the heck of it. Remember that you have not mastered a language until you can think in it. It is very easy to think in English, allow your brain to translate it into the foreign dialect and then utter a crude translation of your thoughts, but the true master of languages is the one who can think in the foreign language that he / she learns. Try and embrace the foreign dialect and experience the culture and history associated with it. The way to learn a language might be to acknowledge yourself with the basic reading, writing and speaking skills, but mastering a foreign dialect requires you to accept the language with an open heart and treat it like your own.
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The history of our high school

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It bears the name Ion Maiorescu, a great Romanian revolutionary. Ion Maiorescu was among the first teachers in Romania who militated for the introduction of the Latin alphabet in education and his son Titu was a great literary critic who discovered and encouraged our national poet Mihai Eminescu.

What I wish you, sweet Romania
My country of glory, my country of longing? Nervous arms, the weapon of strength, To your great past, a great future!

This institution was inaugurated on the 4th November 1869 .In the beginning it was a gymnasium school .There is an official document certifying that the king of Romania, Charles I, together with his wife Queen Elizabeth laid the corner stone for this school. The same documents reads „The heir to the throne Prince Ferdinand and his wife  Princess Maria”.

Crown Prince Ferdinand married Princess Marie of Edinburgh, who was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and of Czar Alexander II of Russia. They had three sons (one of whom died in infancy) and three daughters. Ferdinand succeeded his uncle as King of Romania on 10 October 1914, reigning until his death on 20 July 1927.

In 1920 the gymnasium was changed into a high school and in 1996 it was changed into a national college, the equivalent of a very prestigious high school. 30 January is our school holiday. It is a religious holiday- The Three Scholar Saints-Vasile (Basil), Grigore (Gregory) and Ioan (John).

In the first year of its existence there were only 18 students and 2 teachers. In 2010 there were 950 students. The school consists in fact of two buildings built at different time. Right now both of them are being reconsolidated and refurbished. Its façade will not be changed as it is a national heritage building but the interior will be modernized and the classrooms will be endowed with the latest school furniture and equipment. A new wing has just been finished .It has new labs and classrooms for our students and teachers. On the 4th November 2011 the first refurbished wing of the old high school was inaugurated.

The history of this school is very important both for the town of Giurgiu and Romania. A lot of  representative names for the local, national and international history are connected with it. Thus one of  the headmasters was Nicolae Cartojan, a famous Romanian journalist, writer and literary critic. He wrote the first treaty on Old Romanian Language.

Ion Barbu, one of the greatest Romanian poets,  worked here as a teacher  of mathematics.

By watching the time I can guess its depth 
It is as if one has entered the mirror of redeemed azure
Cutting a second purer game in the water groups
Through the grazing cattle that seem drowned

Still nadir! The poet epitomizes.

The spread harps that take a backward flight
And he gives birth to a hidden song as only the sea can do
When it carries away the drifted starfish under the green bells

Ion Barbu can be compared to Lewis Carroll.

Another ex student who went on to become a  great poet is Petre Ghelmez. He also wrote books for children. He was compared to Oscar Wilde and Frank Baum.

Tudor Vianu one of its alumni became one of the greatest Romanian art critics and philosophers. He wrote interesting studies about William Shakespeare, Miguel. Cervantes, Voltaire, F.M. Dostoyevsky and Stendhal. He also translated Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Our school has an anthem written by an ex teacher of music who was also a great composer. His name is Victor Karpis.



Un profesor englez despre elevii CNIM

Ion Maiorescu Students – a Perspective from England  

Mark Lord-Lear is a former Chief Inspector of Schools of a UK County and is an Honorary Fellow of the School of Education and Life-long Learning at the University of Exeter.  He first came to the school soon after the revolution as part of a programme to assist the Romanian government in educational reform.

As a regular visitor, it has been a delight to meet several cohorts of students at Ion Maiorescu and I particularly enjoy the fact that some of the young people whom I first met are now teachers at your excellent school.   

Those first English students were a very small and select group.   They impressed me enormously with their enthusiasm and respect for English as well as their competence.  Because of the isolationist policy of the Ceausescu regime they were hungry for knowledge about Britain, its culture and its language.    In the early 1990’s lessons ran late into the evenings because ‘live’ contact with a native English speaker was rare and students wanted to use every opportunity to use English.     

At that time there was a palpable sense of urgency to learn English.   The students were driven by a need, as one student put it, “... for us to help Romania to become a proper country, respected by other nations for what we really are.”   The sense of national isolation that underlay this statement was possibly felt more acutely by students of foreign languages than say by students of science or history.

English as an academic subject had not been politically respected national and this showed in the curriculum.  This was very much about English grammar and linguistic mechanisms, and selected ‘classical’ texts.  Nevertheless students were learning well in spite of the curriculum. - Indeed some of them were been so proficient that over the years I have taken several students to the UK as translators for Romanian officials.

The teachers at Ion Maiorescu have constantly impressed me.   Professionally serious and very resourceful, they and the students were deeply aware of the need for urgent curriculum reform.   However, they were less sure of the proper direction for change.  It is hard to realise now that change has taken place, that just a few years ago there were no books in English at Ion Maiorescu other than outdated texts that gave students a distorted picture of life in the UK and English usage.

Modern students evidently see the need to become good at foreign languages no matter what their future profession.   However student motivation has shifted.  The idealism of those students that I first met has gone and it seems that the dominant motivation is now individual prosperity and the free access to the world’s markets and life-styles.

It has been interesting to watch student responses to changes in the ways in which teachers work.  Language teachers in Romania were in the vanguard of classroom methodological reform and student response to those efforts has sometimes seemed strange.  For instance, new books and equipment have not always been treated respectfully. 

With the advent of the EU, growth in the commercial life of Romania and the realisation of political freedoms it is a joy that students have a new and wider range of ambitions and interests.   I wonder if we will see a further maturation in the corporate student body?   Could it be perhaps that personal ambition will be tempered by a passion for Romanian ethical purity, compassion and community life that will demonstrate to the world that the Romanian revolution was not about wealth in the wallet but about wealth that is the quality of life in the spirit?



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