I travel a lot, and I love being in new places, embroiled in new cultures. In fact, it's one of my favourite feelings.
However, diving straight into Georgia in 2017, I felt like maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew.
In countries that use different ways of writing to the Latin alphabet, simple things like reading street signs or understanding where to get off the bus become daunting tasks in themselves. I could get by with my poor Russian skills, but finding English speakers even in T'bilisi, the capital city, was a struggle.
I woke up one morning and said to myself; "there's only one thing for it. I have to learn this alphabet".
In the past, I had tried to learn the languages of every country that I visited. However, this became unrealistic. So, my new strategy was to just learn the basics. I already knew a few basics in Georgian: Hello, Thank you etc. But I wanted to be able to read it as well.
So, not long after arriving in the country, I got to work. Duolingo, my language learning app of choice, doesn't offer a Georgian course unfortunately, so I set about learning the Georgian alphabet via the handy website memrise.
Starting with 5 characters a day.
Not only that, I also practiced my reading and writing at every opportunity that I got.
One of my favourite activities was writing English words using Georgian letters. This is a tactic that I always use when learning a new alphabet. It really is helpful.
In around two weeks, I had pretty much mastered the Georgian alphabet ( with the exception of a few letters which are really hard for English speakers). Unfortunately, my Georgian language skills never got much further than that, simply because the language is so hard.
However, when I left Georgia 3 months later, I knew that I had taken away with me a souvenir from the country that was worth more than any trinket that money could buy.
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