It was January 3, 2010 and I was feeling nervous. I was sitting on a flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki and I would step off this plane and into my new life in Finland. I didn’t really know what to expect…
I was sitting beside a 30something year old Turkish man. He asked me about why I was flying to Helsinki and I told him. We ended up chatting in German since I’d spent my exchange there and he had lived there too.
“If you’re going to learn the language, you need to speak it. The moment you get off this plane, speak it all the time. Speak it with your friends, speak it in the shops, just speak speak speak. And in a year, you’ll be fluent.”
If you already know you want what this person has – check – it’s time for the next step:
Step 2: how can you get the most out of this piece of advice?
Sometimes taking advice is easy: call this number, have a seat, press this button…
But other times, what has worked for some won’t work for others. So when you get some really good advice, you might not necessarily be able to take it at face value. For example, I attended a business networking event with presentations by many foreigners living in Finland. Heather gave a presentation on how volunteering at her son’s school has really enriched her life. Do I have a child? No. But does that mean I can’t take this advice? Of course not. I later ended up volunteering at a competition through my gymnastics club and it was immensely rewarding.
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As for taking the Turkish guy’s advice. I did. I still spoke more than my fair share of English every day, but I also spoke Finnish. If he’d tracked my progress over the years, it probably didn’t look like I followed his advice at all (it took me awhile to figure out how to balance the two) but I took his advice to heart, and did it my own way.
Now I’d love to hear about your experience! Have you ever gotten a piece of advice that didn’t directly apply to you directly but you managed to take anyway? Tell us about it in the comments below 🙂