Greenheart Travel is excited to send a group of amazing high school students to language camps overseas as part of our 2016 Travel Correspondent Scholarship awards. To help introduce our inspiring writers, we will be doing a series of spotlight interviews to help you get to know a little more about who they are, where they will be headed and what inspired them to learn a new language abroad.
Read on to meet 17-year-old, Sam Gorman, our Greenheart Travel Correspondent from Los Angeles, California, who’ll be traveling to Berlin for his summer language camp in Germany!
Last summer, I was fortunate enough to travel to England, France and Switzerland as part of an amazing scholarship opportunity!
It was actually during my time in Switzerland that I decided to learn German. I was in Davos, a completely German speaking area, and just wanted to understand what they were saying. I taught myself a few words there so I could manage the basics, but it was really only after I got back that I decided to seriously teach myself German. After learning for a few months, I started pursuing opportunities that would take me to Germany so I could fully immerse myself in the culture and language, and was so excited when I found out I would be able to travel with Greenheart Travel to Berlin this summer!
I’m most excited about meeting German people and getting to practice my language skills whenever I can! I have yet to meet a German person in Los Angeles, and while I can meet people over Skype, it’s not the same as speaking in person. I hope to hear about German culture firsthand and forge long lasting relationships with the people I’ll meet there this summer!
I feel that in today’s globalized world, we can no longer afford to adopt a strictly Americentric point of view. While the United States is a powerful country, it’s crucial that Americans appreciate cultures different from their own and take the opportunity to travel whenever possible. And even though English is widely spoken across the world, there’s a vast difference between trying to speak English with an exasperated Parisian salesclerk and surprising her with your flawless French. Languages open doors, introduce you to extraordinary people and places, and allow you to understand the world through points of views you would never have encountered before.
I’m not a huge fan of plane rides, or airports for that manner, especially when I’m going by myself. But I know that I can overcome any apprehension I may have in order to get to my destination.
When learning a language, my focus is always on speaking and I make sure to learn what I need to talk with people as naturally as possible. I speak French at an advanced level, and I’m able to communicate without serious problems. My German is upper intermediate, around a B2 level using the European Framework of Reference. And after attempting to teach myself Spanish in a week recently, I speak Spanish at a conversational level as well. That’s where I’m at right now, but I hope to add Chinese to the list too in the next year!
The beautiful thing about travel is often one can come to certain destinations with a fixed idea of how to experience it, and fly home with a completely different story to tell. While I can hope that I will emerge with a better worldview and appreciation for foreign culture, I can only imagine the ways this trip will change me that I would have never been able to anticipate before going.
Sam Gorman is 17 years old and lives in Los Angeles, California. His goal during his language program in Berlin, Germany is to “make as many international friends as I can and to speak as much German as humanly possible! The only way to really improve in a language is by speaking it, and I plan to put that into practice by using the city as my classroom and by getting out of my comfort zone to improve my language skills. ” Follow Sam’s adventures in Germany on his weekly blog post updates.