By Aminatou Diop (YES 2016-2017, Senegal, hosted by AFS in Cleveland Heights, OH)
During this global lock down, many people are interested in taking the time to acquire a new skill while most other activities have been postponed or cancelled. Instead of allowing yourself to be bored doing nothing, use this opportunity to challenge and improve yourself!
First, let me provide some backstory. From December 2018 to January 2020, I lived in China and attended Northwest Minzu University. I lived in a city named Ningxia where there was very little English spoken. This was hard for me at first, because I couldn't navigate supermarkets, malls, or taxis without using the Chinese I knew. However, this challenge helped me to become fluent in Chinese in just one year. I enjoyed creating bonds with my Chinese friends and learning about their culture; it was such an interesting year for me because China is so different from all of the other countries to which I've traveled.
After returning back to Senegal, I was soon required to re-adjust once again when the world began to lock down due to the global pandemic. I decided to use this as an opportunity to help others challenge themselves to learn a new language. I began to share my newly-acquired language skills with the world by using social media to teach the Chinese language. Using Instagram and Tik Tok, I will be uploading weekly videos teaching the Chinese language to my followers. Many people have commented on the videos I’ve already posted saying they appreciate them and are happy for this opportunity.
My exchange year in the U.S. helped me a lot to develop new skills for my future career. Therefore, I want to give back to my community and share those skills with them. Language skills are crucial for some careers and, in my opinion, learning new languages is fun!
See an Instagram post of mine here, in which I teach my followers how to say “Hello”, “Good Morning”, and “Good Night” in Chinese: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_NtUcjHIMj/?igshid=jo1ga3lthzxk