Going back to school
I remember clearly the day when I was filling in university applications in 1994 in St.Louis, Missouri. I had no idea what I wanted to major in and was advised to just pick something I enjoyed because “you can always change it later on”.
I picked German.
But I didn’t change it later on.
I really did enjoy 4 years of studying German but once I graduated I realised that while my knowledge of German was great, I did not have very much confidence to speak it and finding a German related job was going to be nearly impossible.
I worked at a bookstore for a year and then as a translator when I moved back to Estonia. I translated from English to Estonian and vice versa but only from German to Estonian, not vice versa.
Years passed, through the translation agency I got into web design/publishing/development and then moved jobs/countries and forgot all about my German degree.
Six years ago, however, when we moved to the UK, I got a job at an EU institution that highly values the staff’s ability to speak multiple EU languages. It values them so much that even though I work in IT, I can only get promoted if my ‘third’ language is tested and my ability to speak it is assessed to be adequate.
At the end of May I have a promotion interview, part of which will be in German.
To say that I’m “sh*tting my pants” would be an understatement, I have not spoken German since 1998. :|
To avoid literally doing the above, I have booked myself a German tutor and my first lesson is tomorrow night. I am totally terrified and totally excited. I know that there is plenty of German still in my brain somewhere, I just need someone to bring it out. I know that my German degree has not been a waste of time or money – it got me into the career that I’m in right now even though it has nothing to do with German and it will hopefully get me that promotion.
(It’s weird how things sometimes work out like that after so many years, it totally makes me think that someone up there has a long term master plan for all of us.)