The Challenge of Basque

Thursday December 1st, 2016

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“I set myself a challenge and when I see the results I feel fulfilled” Sora Ryu

Sora Ryu is a South Korean woman living in Barakaldo who works as a cook and, even if she came here to learn Spanish, her personal life lead her to learning Basque. She wants to share her learning process with you: what led her to learning Basque, what ways has Basque opened for her, and how she overcame embarrassment.

It is not usual that foreigners like Basque, as it is your case. What led you to learning Basque?

It was my lover’s mother tongue and curiosity aroused. That is how I started learning Basque.

Which was/were your goal(s) when you started learning Basque?

I wanted to understand what he was saying and, moreover, I realised Basque is a very different language and I wanted to know more about it.

Apart from those goals, has Basque opened other ways you were not expecting it to? Has it given you the opportunity to get into the job market?

Yes, it has. I studied cookery and also worked here. After I started learning Basque, a Basque association from Barakaldo (sasiburu elkartea) offered that I hosted a cookery workshop and I answered: why not! More and more jobs are emerging in that sector and I am bit by bit opening to new job positions with my knowledge.

Some people claim they do not study Basque because it is very difficult and, sometimes, even if we know Basque, we do not dare speak it. How would you encourage those who believe Basque is very difficult to study it?

I would encourage them to accept Basque as the “new language” in their heads. English, French, German and so on… To accept that word order is different and that auxiliary verbs are difficult. That it is one of the languages of the town you live in.

When you started learning Basque, how did you manage to overcome the embarrassment caused by not mastering a language?

In my case, I had advantages. You can see that I am a foreigner just by my face, and it is the truth. I came here to study Spanish and I already had to practise enough back then, so I do not feel embarrassed anymore.

In what language do you talk to your children?

In Korean.

They will learn Spanish without much help, even if it is at school or in the street, but how do you think the multilingualism you live at home has helped your children?

In my opinion, it is very important that they know their language of origin. I do not only transmit the language, but also the culture and another way of thinking. I think it is a good way to broaden the mind.

You are learning with bai&by’s intelligent system, what has your experience been like so far? How has it helped you?

I learnt what the word “perseverance, persistence” means. I set myself a challenge and when I see the results I feel fulfilled.

It has helped me to stay in a good state of mind with myself, to actively participate in my children’s education, to improve my Basque in all aspects (listening, writing, understanding, reading).

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The Challenge of Basque
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