Politics isn’t a dirty word! Well, it needn’t be. It might actually be a gateway to both better target language skills, and greater engagement in your target language culture.
I’ve written previously about the passive benefits learners of highly visible political language. The concise, snappy nature of sloganism is just perfect for bite-sized language lessons. But language itself is a potent tool capable of conveying ideas, forging connections, and instigating change. In the realm of politics, language serves as a vehicle to raise awareness, mobilise communities, and advocate for transformative action.
And harnessing that power is an excellent way to participate directly with your target language culture.
Finding a Way In
To get started turning politics into a learning strategy, reaching out to political or activist organisations in your target language countries is an effective first approach. This not only deepens your understanding of the political landscape in those nations, but also allows you to actively contribute to the fight for a better future on your terms.
Here are some valuable resources to kickstart your journey, each of which are mineable for links to your particular country of interest:
- Action Network: Discover and join political and activist organisations in your target language country. [https://actionnetwork.org/]
- Change.org: Initiate and sign petitions on crucial issues that resonate with you. [https://www.change.org/]
- Global Citizen: Take action on global challenges such as poverty, climate change, and human rights. [https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/]
- MoveOn.org: Engage in political activism by contacting elected officials and supporting political campaigns. [https://moveon.org/]
- 350.org: Join the fight against climate change by mobilizing individuals to take meaningful action. [https://350.org/]
Politics and Social Media
Social media platforms also offer excellent opportunities to connect with political or activist organisations in your target language country. Following political accounts – for instance, Senterpartiet in Norway, or Sweden’s SV – can equip you with the vocabulary and structures you need to engage.
It’s also helpful to follow a range of organisations, including those espousing views that might not necessarily overlap with your own. Preparing yourself for both sides of a debate is never a bad idea.
Here are a few steps you can take:
Research: Identify organisations or groups that align with your political interests and goals. Explore their online presence, including their websites and social media profiles, to gain insights into their mission, activities, and values.
Follow and Engage: Follow the organisations’ social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Stay updated on their initiatives, campaigns, and events. Engage with their posts by liking, commenting, and sharing to show your support and connect with like-minded individuals.
Direct Messaging: Some organisations may provide contact information or allow direct messaging through their social media profiles. Consider reaching out to express your interest in getting active, ask questions, or seek more information about their work. Be concise, polite, and explain your language learning journey and enthusiasm for their cause.
Hashtags and Communities: Utilise relevant hashtags and join online communities or groups dedicated to political activism or social causes in your target language country. Participate in discussions, share your insights, and connect with individuals who share your passion.
Online Events and Webinars: Many organisations host online events, webinars, or live streams to share knowledge, discuss pressing issues, and engage their audience. Attend these events and actively participate by asking questions or sharing your perspectives. This allows you to connect with both the organisation and fellow participants.
By leveraging social media platforms, you can broaden your network, stay informed, and actively engage with political or activist organisations in your target language country. This digital connection provides a gateway to collaborate, learn, and contribute to meaningful change.
Once you’ve established contact with political or activist organisations, whether through social media or other means, you can explore various avenues to contribute. Volunteer your time, make donations, or even consider running for a position. By actively participating, you’ll utilise your language skills to make a tangible impact.
Here are a couple of additional tips for connecting with political or activist organisations in your target language country:
- Respect the culture: When communicating in another language, it’s vital to show respect for the culture and language of the individuals involved. Use appropriate language forms and be mindful of cultural sensitivities.
- Persevere: Finding the right organisation for you may require some time and effort. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t immediately find the perfect fit. Remain persistent, continue your search, and you’ll eventually discover an organisation that aligns with your passions.
With these suggestions, I hope you’re inspired to use and improve your language skills by exploring the politics of your target language countries. Let your linguistic abilities be a force for positive change!