Příběh 18. – Zážitky, které ovlivňují život

Příběh 18. čerpám z bohatých zkušeností velmi zajímavého člověka Marka Andrewse,  kterého si velmi vážím a je mi velkou inspirací. Je to specialista na jazyky, lektor angličtiny a lektor lektorů, původem z Velké Británie, který začal cestovat v době, kdy to nebylo ještě tak jednoduché. Jeho postřehy a jedinečné zkušenosti jsou velmi inspirativní. Ponořme se s tímto pohledem do doby, kterou většina z nás sama nezažila.


Anglický originál od Marka:


My own formative experiences of getting to know other countries and cultures


I have often wondered how I myself got into languages and travelling and I can point to two very formative experiences that I had, one at the age of 10 and the other at the age of 16.

School at Sea

School at Sea

In the 1930’s cruises for schoolchildren were pioneered in Britain using troopships that were not used during the summer and in 1967 for the price of £29 then, I was lucky enough to take part in one of these educational experiences. At sea, on the way to Norway we had lessons about where we were going to in classrooms on board ship and when we were in Norway, after being on land all day, in the evenings we wrote up our logs or diaries recording our experiences when we weren’t enjoying Norwegian folk dancing.

For all of us it was the first experience of foreign travel and the educational value was considerable,  we were exposed to history, geography, other religions, bits of Norwegian, the fact that there was another currency, and on some trips, to Egypt for example, children witnessed terrible poverty leading sometimes to life-changing attitudes towards life and the world.

We went in May during term time. I’d love to know now who organised it and how many schools were contacted about the scheme. I went to a little primary school where we had a fairly even mixture of children from working-class and middle-class backgrounds.


S.S. Devonia the ship I went to Norway on in 1967

M.S. Devonia the ship I went to Norway on in 1967

I was only 10 when I went on the M.S. Devonia to Norway and was introduced to Norwegian stave churches and outdoor markets. It was the first time I saw live fish in a tank for sale in Bergen and we were also taken to the composer Edvard Grieg’s grave and his summer residence. It was my first trip “abroad” if you don’t count Wales, and the first time I was made aware of another culture and language.


My German experience


I was just so jealous of Daniela who had one of these and was playing Abba's Dancing Queen on it which had just one the eurovision song contest. Terry Jacks' Seasons i the Sun and Je t'aime..moi non plus! Ahhhhhh

That ITT machine which I remember playing Abba’s Waterloo, Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun and Je t’aime..moi non plus! Ahhhhhh. All hits of spring 1974.


At the age of 16 I had the good fortune to spend 10 weeks in two West German families and went to school there and got to know a very different school culture from the one I had been used to, without school uniforms and “sitzenbleiben”, a strange idea for me, that if you didn’t get the necessary marks you had to “remain sitting” and do the whole year again.

In the families I stayed in I saw a dishwasher, a bread-cutting machine  and an ITT cassette recorder for the first time, as well as being told to comb my hair properly before breakfast and take my shoes off when I entered the house.

“The families I was staying were both well-off, one a “Zeit reading” forester and the other an architect. I was wowed by machines to cut bread and an ITT cassette recorder. The daughter of the family, Daniela, had got an ABBA tape and the Swedish group had just won the Eurovision song contest with Waterloo. I was so jealous, not of the bread machine but of the cassette recorder. At home we’d only got one of those reel to reel things and this ITT machine looked so cool.”

These experiences were the most formative experiences of my earlier years and they raise the question of how we can create experiences for young people which involve engagement with other cultures, learning about them and which in turn potentially lead to a better understanding of your own culture.

With the German experience, I came back not only much better at German, but much more motivated to learn more German. It also whet my appetite for travel abroad in general and I think I can safely say I would never have gone on to study languages at university without that experience. It was a very influential period of my life. On returning my German teacher remarked in my school report: “His sojourn in Germany has added a new dimension to his German studies.”


An unforgettable experience


All in all in terms of developing motivation, an ethnographic trip to another country can be an invaluable step in changing somebody’s life for the better, it certainly was for me when I went to Norway and West Germany. I was helped not to be an alien but how to participate in our common European culture in a more equal way and in a way in which I wasn’t saying because things weren’t British it didn’t mean they were worse. I stopped wondering why people drive on the “wrong” side of the road a long time ago! At the age of 16 I was taken to the border which divided East and West Germany.

The tower I climbed when I was 16 and peered into the German Democratic Republic, a country I would find myself living in for 4 years 6 years laterThe tower I climbed when I was 16 and peered into the German Democratic Republic, a country I would find myself living in for 4 years 6 years later

Going abroad changed my life for ever and without that experience I certainly wouldn’t be doing the course in Devon next week in the way that I will be doing it and I certainly don’t feel like an alien here in Hungary now!


This is the year I well and truly flipped, as if I hadn'd flipped before

This is the year I well and truly flipped, as if I hadn’t flipped before

One of the highlights of the year for me was using a flip camera to interview people at the ISTEK conference in Istanbul this year in the role of roving reporter, and next week in Devon I will be doing the same, interviewing local people to find out about their lives and to listen to the language that they use and encouraging our teachers to do the same.

Finally, Mikes György wrote “How  to be an Alien”, I certainly don’t feel like an alien in Hungary and I hope our teachers don’t feel like aliens in Devon next week, in the end what unites us is far more than what divides us and far more important than what makes us different.

This classic photograph of the Earth was taken on December 7, 1972 by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. What can you see?

This classic photograph of the Earth was taken on December 7, 1972 by the Apollo 17 crew travelling towards the moon. What can you see?



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