Genuine connections with Irish language learners
I wake in the morning and the first thing I do I do is reach for my phone and jump on Facebook. Normally, if I heard of someone doing that I’d think they were deeply lonely or addicted to social media.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth!
While learning Gaeilge/Irish I’ve found myself making genuine friends in Ireland, England, America and Germany. Learning this language has shown me there are so many wonderful people around the world. I may be connecting with them through Facebook, Twitter and Skype, but we’re genuinely connecting. Conversations are authentic and heart felt. People are willing to be open and honest about themselves, their passion for Irish culture and for Gaeilge.
I often meet the same people in different on-line Irish language groups and Facebook pages and feel comforted. These people have quickly become my community who share my chosen language; I talk to them every day. We may have different ideas about the world (and Ireland) and are from different cultural backgrounds, but there’s acceptance and a common goal – to learn Gaeilge. This community is full of interesting and intelligent people who want to explore the Irish language, culture and history. And honestly, I don’t think there’s a more controversial or political western language than Gaeilge/Irish. It challenges me to open my mind and teaches me humility. It’s more than just the language, Irish culture has shown me a hidden history of oppression and injustice in the name of ‘colonisation’. It has shown me a fighting spirit that refused to die. And all of this is openly discussed in the growing Irish speaking/learning community. Every day, it shows me that most people around the world are kind and welcoming.
So that’s what I associate with learning Gaeilge in the international Irish learning community – warm and welcoming and intelligent and challenging and insightful.
I can’t leave without saying a little Irish, so here goes…
“Ní féidir leat Gaeilge a fhoghlaim gan pobal a chruthú.”
You cannot learn Irish without creating community.
Slán go fóill agus tugaigí aire daoibh féin
Bye for now and take care