A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…. 千里之行﹐始于足下 [千里之行﹐始於足下] Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐ yú zú xiàI’m beginning my first Mandarin Chinese language course in preparation to live the next 3-5 years in Beijing. It will be an intense 4-weeks in Bonn, Germany with 26hrs of Chinese each week– the Rhine River is sure to provide an excellent background for relaxing into this new language.
Learning a new language is an immense challenge, yet enriching on so many levels. Besides the intellectual challenge, I look forward to transforming my travel experiences in the country by being able to connect with new and interesting people and expand my vocabulary. Already it is helping me let down prejudices that I didn’t even know I had and becoming more open minded about a part of the world that is so unfamiliar to the small town American girl inside of me. This experience is certainly a big lesson for me in overcoming some of my greatest fears and insecurities.
Jumping into the fire—feeling out of control with language, culture, and physical location is also an intense way of developing great leadership skills. I’m curious to hear what you think about the connection between great leadership skills and learning a new language.