One thing I’m sometimes ashamed to admit is that I study Catalan. As I’m coming to the end of my university degree, I’ve had a few conversations recently with people (often older folk!) who have been asking me about my plans for the future.
“What are you studying?”
“What are you going to do with your degree, then?”
I remember when I first considered studying Catalan and was discouraged from doing so by a mentor I consider influential in my life.
“Why would you want to study that? No one speaks Catalan, so it will be of no value to you. You’d be much better off doing…)”
I still remember that conversation and still disagree now. I imagine the estimated 10 million Catalan speakers would probably also disagree.
But what’s interesting is that, despite being a passionate learner of Catalan and wanting to share the story of the country and its fight for independence, I’m still sometimes embarrassed to tell people that I study it.
I told someone last week, I only chose it because all the places on the Italian course were full. That was a lie. I often say it’s only an optional module because there was nothing else I wanted to study. That’s half a lie. It was an optional module at my university. But it was the first one I chose because I desperately wanted a place on the course.
I don’t know why I do this. Maybe it’s something to do with the initial bad experience sharing my desire to learn it with someone I look up to. Maybe it’s because it is a “minority” (or “minoritised”?) language and I’m worried about its future and how I will use it in my future.
But I am passionate about it and in one way or another, even if it’s just returning to Catalonia to travel and visit my friends there, I’ve promised myself I will use the language in the future!
Is there something you do in your life you’re embarrassed to share with others?