I survived my first week of Bangla (aka Bengali) language class. It’s been quite the endeavor so far. Not only am I learning new words, but I’m learning a new alphabet that is a bit more complicated that I would have imagined. Ive felt like an elementary school kid for the past week – going to school on a bus, eating in a cafeteria, practicing my ABCs and 123s, and saying “gu gu ga ga” a lot.
The Bangla language course is definitely fast paced. In previous language classes of other tongues, I’ve found myself a little bored and not challenged. Not so at FSI! By the end of 3 days of class, we’re already able to have rudimentary conversations. We’re still working on getting the alphabet down, but slowly slowly I’m able to make sense of the squiggly lines.
I have three fantastic native-speaking instructors who know how to explain their language. We also talk about Bangladeshi culture, and there will even be some field trips. My course will last for 28 weeks and by the end, I will hopefully be considered a “2/2”. Basically that means I will be able to hold some more in depth conversations. I’m feeling incredibly lucky to have a job that pays me to learn a foreign language. I have not utilized this many brain cells at once in a long time, though. I can’t wait to use it for real in Bangladesh!
In other news, many of my A-100 classmates are heading off to post. The number of people I eat lunch with each day dwindles, but there will still be a few of us around for the long haul. Mandaran, Thai, Vietnamese, Spanish, Arabic and a few others will perservere throughout the coming months. I just hope I have the stamina to keep up.