People visit Cape Town, South Africa from all over the world. It’s a beautiful city, after all. I once met someone there from the US who asked me: “So, what’s your story?”. It was his novel version of “small talk”, which we all engage in socially when meeting new people. We usually ask general questions, like “Where are you from?” If you are living or travelling in a foreign country, locals will probably want to know why you are visiting their country, what you like about it and how long you intend to stay. The answers we give inevitably paint a basic picture of our lives. “What’s your story?”, however, is a bit more dynamic, even if it sounds a bit odd at first. The question acknowledges that we all have unique stories to tell and that our individual stories are still being written. Of course, the basic facts are important, but “story” communicates the idea that life is more than just basic facts like age and nationality. There is emotion and perspective. There is drama. There are happy moments and sad ones. There are failures and successes.

Being able to tell our life story, or aspects of it, is one of the chief objectives of learning a foreign language. It starts with being able to accurately communicate basic facts, like where we’re from and what we do for a living. As our language skills improve, however, the narrative of our lives can expand. A more vivid, complex picture emerges. It’s a bit like adding colour to a black and white image.

Goinglobal students learn new vocabulary and the meaning of local idiomatic expressions so they can tell their stories with more clarity and perspective, so they can begin to interact on a deeper level with people in their native language. Sometimes it’s okay to just talk about the weather or what food we like. But someone may just be interested in what we think about something more poignant. Goinglobal is committed to helping students confidently chat about the mundane and the meaningful… about life.