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Part of learning a language is about experiencing a new culture. The process goes beyond memorizing words and fundamental grammar rules. You gain insights into the culture once you start learning the language since it mirrors reality, actions, customs and traditions based on the sociocultural background. Language exhibits perception, but it also reflects the history of a particular country. Often, the key to success when learning a language relies on understanding the cultures you are willing to explore. You might define culture as how someone senses the world within a group of fluent people in the same symbol system by generations of storytelling and composition.
While learning a new language can be a fascinating experience that opens doors to exotic places in the world, it can also be challenging to find the time to study and the right teacher that will help you reach your maximum potential. The best teacher is someone who understands you and can motivate you to do your best.
Whether you are planning a simple vacation or maybe even considering moving to another country, it might be worth finding an LGBT+ language teacher. The more you get in touch with cultural traditions, the simpler it becomes to communicate with the locals and understand specific slang.
Learn about the LGBT+ culture of a particular country
As an LGBT+ traveler, the first priority is your safety. Common sense is not always enough; it ultimately depends on values and ideas commonplace in a foreign country. An LGBT+ or LGBT+ friendly teacher can give you information that you wouldn’t normally find in tourist guides. The best you can do to avoid trouble is to be informed of potential risks before traveling.
For example, Arabic countries are well known for being homophobic, but many still have a bustling and growing gay scene, particularly in big and cosmopolitan cities such as Istanbul. In these challenging places, LGBT visitors you should take advice and follow directions carefully to ensure a safe and pleasant visit.
You should also take into consideration that things have changed over time. Some of the most homophobic places in the world were once one of the most LGBT+ friendly, without ignoring that the labels “gay,” “LGBT,” and “queer” are relatively new in world history, at least in their current connotations. Tourists may perceive that a reminiscent of the glorious past is still there.
You can open up and be yourself
One significant advantage of choosing an LGBT+ foreign language teacher is that there will be fewer identity barriers. Breaking through these barriers will put you in a better place to learn since you can ask more questions without feeling embarrassed.
With greater comfort you should learn more efficiently in a welcoming environment where you can feel free to talk about yourself without being harassed or judged. On the other hand, if you’re less open about your identity it’s possible it will hinder the language learning process.
Since some languages require a more direct way of expressing feelings, desires and opinions than English, teachers must be cautious regarding levels of directness. What can be polite in some contexts and cultures can be very rude in others. Teaching a language is not only about the language and the culture. It is also about developing critical thinking skills as speaking a new language requires a deep understanding of different communication codes and ideas.
You will be a better learner if you are in a comfort zone
Teachers play a crucial role in supporting LGBT+ students by ensuring the learning environment is friendly, warm and inclusive. Choosing an LGBT+ foreign language teacher increases the chances of learning in a space free of discrimination and judgmental behavior.
Because LGBT+ people still don’t have the same rights and privileges as their straight counterparts, understanding prejudices within the law becomes necessary. Even if the teacher is not homophobic but is not particularly LGBT+ friendly, it can negatively affect the learning process.
Furthermore, while group classes are a popular way of learning, they are probably the least effective. The one-on-one learning method is the most effective because you have the teacher 100% dedicated to you. For shy learners, especially LGBT+ ones, it is usually more comfortable to work with a private teacher instead of participating in a group class.
Coming out is a breeze
Even today, coming out is not an easy task. It is much easier for straight students to talk about their dating and romantic lives. The reality is that it can take many years to come out effectively, and the path is not as straightforward as you might like. Coming out is indeed an ongoing task in our lives and something that never ends.
Learning a new language with an LGBT+ teacher may help you open up and discover more as well since you will discover a new language and interact with the cultures attached to it and learn the LGBT+ community's historical struggles in a specific place of the world. Doing your best to understand the history of where you want to visit can evidence your willingness to make an effort to set you apart from other tourists who might not do the same.
It is easy to find an LGBT+ community of teachers
The good news for you is that a small group of LGBT+ teachers is working on italki. Although italki doesn’t itself promote this group, we took it upon ourselves to create the network of LGBT+ and allied educators worldwide who teach various languages including English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. Even though the project is still in development (early stage), you can already start exploring a few LGBT+ teachers who can help you learn quickly all while feeling comfortable with who you are.
Are you interested in learning a new foreign language? Probably so if you have read this far. Maybe you've already started but need help. Perhaps you are reading this blog post, and English isn't even your native language, but you want to practice with a native speaker. italki is an excellent platform for finding professional teachers within your budget.
We know a handful of teachers personally who work on the platform, and we've even signed up ourselves. After finally learning to speak Spanish after all these years, we're excited to start on our next language: French! What are you waiting for to start the language learning journey?
Try out italki to get started, find a cool teacher and start practicing, especially with the low-cost trial lesson offered by many teachers.
What language do you want now to learn?