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On moving and languages

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2010.12.29 | 04:15

So, a friend of mine approached me with the question: Would I move away from Budapest, whether to another town in the country or to a foreign city. Or actually, the question was how I find it to live in Budapest, and whether — given the right circumstances — I would move away from there.

It’s a tough question.

For one, I like living here because I don’t have a licence, and the further I go from a city, the more impossible it is to actually get to work without a car. This is not so incredibly true for more advanced countries like Germany or the Netherlands. Another thing is the job opportunities — his question arose actually because it seems there’s little of those in the smaller city he lives in, and from what I’ve heard, I have to agree.

But the question was, whether that (and initial money) wasn’t a problem, would I then move? One of the bigger issues I thought of was the closeness of my friends, and if I, say, moved to Sopron, I would have little of that. I wouldn’t simply be able to just decide to hop over to a friend I hang out with regularly now, because that’d be 2½ hours with the train at the very least. On the other hand, it would give an opportunity to get new friends to hang out with. How, that’d to be decided by the particular circumstance.

Moving abroad is a much more complicated issue, and the reason why I turned this into a Note.

The whole issue about friends still stands, even more so than before. But I’m a rather international person, as can be seen on my FB friend list among other things, I would be able to find people nearby whom I can hang out with, eventually. Pay is a LOT higher, and living is NOT THAT MUCH higher — you Westerners can’t imagine how different it is there to live from your wages — so that’s a great thing.

But there’s a catch. For most of the real life things — and I say this with 24 years of experience with the English language, half of that having spent communicating in it on a daily basis, and let’s say 16 years of experience with the German language — I have not the slightest clue how to say them in a foreign language. Things having to do with banking, insurances, healthcare, social security, LIFE. No idea. Heck, I know barely anything about taxes even in Hungarian!

And this is really damn sad. School should teach us things that makes us less of a dumb fuck out there in the capital-letter Life. Some survival skills, basic stuff, really. Don’t need to become a master economist by 8th grade, just, get a simple idea of how a few things work that you will inevitably be exposed to when you become an adult.

But I guess the reason they leave people uneducated about these things — and foreign language teaching only ever deals with mundane matters like how “Tony likes his car so he takes good care of it” and “Roggenbrot ist gesund” — because (oh, hi, conspiracy theories!) uneducated people are simply easier to control.

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Comments {4}

Knasty Mike

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from: knastymike
date: 2010.12.29 05:44 (UTC)

Language is the main reason I am intimidated by traveling overseas. As a stupid American, I barely speak English!

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from: vandringar
date: 2010.12.29 06:36 (UTC)

Language for everyday life comes quickly when you live overseas; those were the first words I learned! I think you'd do quite well living overseas- in fact, you should try living in England! ;)

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from: cabcat
date: 2010.12.29 08:46 (UTC)

In Australia the pay isn't bad, but homes and material goods cost more than so many places and living costs are so much higher than places like America, but we do have a better health system.

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from: schnee
date: 2010.12.29 11:00 (UTC)

I very much agree — schools really should be teaching this sort of thing. I can't count how many "classics" I've read (or, at least, was supposed to read) in my weekly four or five hours of German class, for example, but it always felt like a waste to me.

I actually mentioned something similar to a friend in October, when he asked about what kinds of things I would've liked for my parents to teach me.

That said, if you moved to another country, I'm sure you'd figure it out. *hugs* Your friends would be there to help you with the large things (to the extent that THEY knew how to do them), and the smaller things you'd pick up quickly on your own, I'm sure. People have done it before, people are doing it right now and people will continue doing it, and you're definitely a very intelligent person — you would succeed there.

(As for conspiracy theories, I'm not sure I agree. It sometimes seems as if people are kept stupid on purpose indeed, but I'd more expect a general lack of quality in education as a result. If you want to politically control someone by keeping them uneducated, what good is it if they aren't taught how to fill out their tax return forms?)

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