With Erasmus Mundus scholarship, I had a chance to study in 2 countries in Europe: Italy and Sweden. Before I flew abroad, one of my intentions was to learn new languages. I intended to learn Italian while living in Italy, and learn Swedish while living in Sweden.
And, I did. I registered to language courses.
But, I did not do well.
I studied Italian language in the first semester. Then, after a month or so, I dropped the course. I told myself that because I had many assignments and exams, and Italian language was too difficult. Actually while living in Italy for a year, there were chances to register and study again, but I did not do so. I told myself that I was about to leave Italy (I studied there for only 2 semesters). Finally, I could not even order pizza in Italian language.
I studied in Sweden for 2 semesters as well. I studied Swedish language in summer (before the first semester started). It was an intensive course that would be finished in 10 working days. This time, it was better. I passed the course. Well, the course was for beginner. I learned basic of Swedish language, but I still could not communicate in Swedish and I still could not understand what Swedish I met on streets were talking. I registered the second course. And because of the assignments and exams (same excuse), I again dropped the course.
Without knowing local language, I still could survive in the countries. I could live, study, and travel there, but I know it would be much better if I know the local language. It is one of the ways to show respect to the countries that I lived. I know that I would better understand the culture and mannerisms of the countries.
If I could turn back time, I would prepare myself more. I would learn basic of the local languages before I flew to the countries. I would make time for the local languages while living there. I would bring the local languages to life. And, I would not complain local people that do not speak English!