Languages by immersion!

17 04 2012

In many years in Norway I learnt what a few friends call my personal Norwegian: far from being good, I do understand and people i general understand me when I speak Norwegian. I had a one month immersion course before starting the first semester as student at NTNU in Trondheim. From that course I learned almost nothing! Met nice people, had a very nice teacher, but besides the basics like “How are you?, What’s your name?, Where do you come from?” I leaned very little! And especially very little useful in a technical University!

So when the semester started I had to make a choice: follow the steps of a few fellow exchange student and enroll myself to some serious language courses (3 hours in the evening, 2-3 times per week) or use the same time for something else, more inspiring and interesting for my international experience.

I chose the second road, also thinking that since almost all subjects had books in English (some even classes, even if I never asked for that myself!), I could cope one way or another. And technical Norwegian is not that different from technical Italian-English-Spanish-French, so with my linguistics basics or language similarities (Italian-Spanish-French) I would have been able to understand the most.

I was not wrong!

But the extra teaching, especially in everyday life, started when I started practicing Aikido.. where all the sessions were taught in Norwegian! That became also my main Norwegian environment! True enough, every Norwegian person can understand and speak a very good English, so my interaction with them was never a problem, even at the beginning. But then I liked so much Aikido from the very beginning that I took part to all the possible sessions, receiving a very good full immersion in Norwegian language!

In fact, this winter, when I was in Italy and I have been asked to teach one Aikido session in my hometown, I was extremely nervous especially for.. the language!!! First time teaching Aikido in Italian!!!

Now in China, Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese internet bank nightmare!!

17 04 2012

I got an internet bank solution thinking it would make my life much easier!

This bank, one of the main in China, has also an English page, even if not all services are available in English.. but better than nothing!

I used it today for a money transfer. OK, in truth i started using it yesterday, tried several times.. gave up and postponed to today.

I tried most of possible combinations before resorting to the last that makes absolutely no international sense!! But then I noticed the way the bank page was referring as my registered name field.

In fact the only way the bank accepted the payment ot go through was using the name of the receiver written as:


All in capital letters, no spaces, family name first! and middle name last!

Of course, if we all had Chinese names then…..

Why did I not think about that before???? 😉

Update – As David mentioned in his comment about Korea, in China it is almost the same: the internet bank opens only on IE, luckily at least it works with the last multi-tab version!!! No Chrome or similar browser though!