IS IT ALWAYS AN ADVANTAGE TO KNOW THE LANGUAGE?

के अझ बढी भाषा बोल्न राम्रो छ?

The Red Cross Youth Delegate Exchange Programme (ydep.no) is all about moving to another different country and culture to work with the youths - and not at least learning and speaking another language than you are used to - whether it is norwegian, malagasy, french, spanish or in our case, nepali. Today several countries are multilingual due to the fact that the language has been characterized both by history and culture. This applies both in Norway and Nepal. After a long time of conflicts, Norway have two offical languages; Norwegian and Sami. While in Nepal there are 126 different ethnic groups and 123 different native languages. 

Being multilingual can be both beneficial, but also challenging at times. I can relate to this because I grew up with 5 different kind of languages through my childhood in Norway - and still switches between different languages during a day. For many years most language-researchers in Norway believed that multilingualism created difficulties for the child's academic development, but this myth has (luckily) disappeared gradually over time. Today, there is a perception that knowing more languages are beneficial for children's cognitive and linguistic development. But is it always an advantage to be multilingual?

  The 7 Red Cross principles both in English and Nepali

The 7 Red Cross principles both in English and Nepali

Multilingualism has many beneficial effects, such as giving a broader understanding of different cultures and not at least making oneself understood in different parts of the world. Naturally, it is easier to get to know the locals if you speak their mother tongue - but, there is some things, like humour, which can be difficult to translate directly. As one of our nepali-colleugues said; "It is important to adapt the pronuciation to the context as well, eventhough the common language is the same". Though, here in Nepal, it’s pretty hard to keep track of the 123 different kind of native langugaes and pronunciations.  Nevertheless, there have already been some situations where I wish that I diden`t understood the language - like being backtalked or getting comments like "Ey, look at those foreigners, what do they think they are doing here" , "Hey white chick» or "She has to be from India". In addition, being multilingual and coming from more than one culture can also affect how they look and perceive you as a person.  But, at the end its all up to you how you choose to deal with it.

Therefore, it`s a good thing that we are two in this misson. Especially when we are working with different kind of youths - but also when we are trying to shop for food or getting to know the locals. That is always a good treat– both regarding to the language barriers, but also the fact that both me and Camilla has to try to be patient (not stressing like we Norwegians like to do). A good way of learning the language (and the culture) is though to spend time with the locals - preferably in our leisure time. This week for example we were invited to have a dinner with the local staff members of Nepal Red Cross - which actully happens to be the start of their festivaltime named Dashain. We had a lovely dinner with drinks, practiced nepali and got to know them even better - what a good way of starting our festival/holiday time!

  Dhasain dinner with staff members of Nepal Red Cross;  our local contact person (LCP) Sir Kiran, Geetha, Duliua, Sir Pusparaj, Sir Dharmaraj, Lenika and Sir Shivrau. 

Dhasain dinner with staff members of Nepal Red Cross;  our local contact person (LCP) Sir Kiran, Geetha, Duliua, Sir Pusparaj, Sir Dharmaraj, Lenika and Sir Shivrau. 

Anyways, thanks for reading this blogpost and we hope that you will continue to follow our blog during this misson. We would also love to hear from you if you got something on your heart (either in Norwegian, English or Nepali).  You can either contact us here or on our facebook work-profiles Camilla Ungdomsdelegat and Thanuya Ungdomsdelegat. 

Comment (by clicking on the date of the blogpost e.g 1st of October), share and we are up for a challenge anytime.  

Nepali-love/अंगालो  from Thanuya