Hello and welcome to my blog.
My name is Jacqueline Matthews. I am passionate about languages and I am writing this blog in order to share my enthusiasm with you. I plan to write about why it is important to learn languages, what benefit you will gain from it, and some tips on language learning. Later I will include cultural lessons, language lessons, and perhaps a word of the day or week.
First of all, allow me to explain how I became interested in languages. Like many others, my first introduction to modern foreign languages was at school, where I had the opportunity to learn French, German and Latin. I loved learning languages from day one, and knew this is what I wanted to do. Not content with studying European languages, at university I opted to push the boat out and see whether I would be able to learn an oriental language. Japanese was the language I was drawn to, and took up the challenge of learning some of the several thousand Chinese characters called kanji that represent the most complex of the three Japanese alphabets.
After two years of studying German and Japanese, the university sent us on a five week trip to Japan. I fell in love with the people, the culture and the place. However, as soon as I came back from this trip, I got ready to spend a year living in Germany as German was in fact my major at university and Japanese a subsidiary subject. I also came to love the people of Germany and the country itself but Japan had already captured my heart. On graduation, I determined that I would go and live in Japan.
It took some years for me to realise my dream. Meanwhile I had gone off to learn more languages – picking up koine Greek and Hebrew along the way. It was 1st May 1999 that I finally set foot on Japanese soil again. I set off with one suitcase and four nights booked into a hotel and ended up living there for seven years. Lots of amazing things happened. One day maybe I will fill in the details here of what happened next but it is a long story. Needless to say my love for Japan grew stronger, and though back in the UK now, I maintain strong links to Japan and have some good Japanese friends that live locally to me in Ossett, West Yorkshire. I started writing my PhD while I was there, gathering data and conducting interviews, looking at the attitudes of Japanese young people towards religion. I successfully completed my thesis and graduated in 2011.
Back home now, I have decided to set up my own business teaching languages. I offer private tailor-made lessons in Japanese, German and French for individuals face-to-face in my home office or using state-of-the-art technology over the Internet. My students appreciate my enthusiasm for the language, and some have been studying now with me for several years.
I hope you enjoyed reading my self-introduction. I would love to hear from you if you have any views on learning languages. Until next time …