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Dafydd Vaid

Dafydd Vaid

Studying Basque at BSU was a great experience for me. It has helped me in my subsequent studies, and opened up loads of possibilities for me to meet new people and have incredible experiences. Basque is taught really well at BSU. It’s a highly interactive and really fun course. Incredibly, it was also easy. That’s not to say it wasn’t challenging, but everything was explained so clearly and in such an accesible way that it was just a pleasure to be in class, orin the language lab, or even working on projects and studying in my own time. When you consider that Basque has an unearned reputation of being ‘impossible to learn,’ it really shows you how special the Basque program at BSU is. BSU’s Basque program gave me the opportunity to study for two weeks at a barnetegi, or immersive language school, in Lazkao, a village in the Basque country. My travel fare, tuition, and accommodation were all provided for, which is just incredible. That two weeks was life-changing. My fluency in Basque increased rapidly, while I made new friends that I’m still in touch with years later. Every moment of every day, I was surrounded by the Basque language. That kind of immersion is so important for learning a language. On top of that, I learned how to play the txalaparta, a traditional percussion instrument, and went hiking nearthe village, where I got to see the truly breathtaking, picturesque landscapes of the region.I’ve returned to the Basque Country several times since then, visiting friends I made, and accompanied by other international students I met at the barnetegi. After studying in the Basque Country, I relocated to London, where I currently study linguistics and Hindi in the UK at the School of African Studies, University of London.Studying Basque at BSU has helped me in so many ways. Firstly, as a linguist in training, knowledge of a language as unique as Basque proves incredibly useful when learning about the way different languages can work. And learning any language at all is a great way to sharpen a load of skills such as critical thinking, understanding global perspectives, perseverance, and many others. But to me, one of the most important things about learning Basque was that it helped me consider my connection to my own heritage. Basque is a language very closely tied to the identity of a people. The native word for a Basque person is euskaldun, literally ‘one who has the Basque language,’ and the language is an essential part of the Basque identity which has endured many threats across the ages. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from many Basque people about the importance of keeping your culture a vital part of your life through language and community. As a person of Indian descent, I was motivated by this aspect of the Basque identity that I came in contact with to seek out my own roots and take hold of my own culture and identity. Now I study Hindi, the language of my family in India which I didn’t grow up speaking, and I’ll be going to India on a year abroad next year. I’m finding that just as learning Basque connected me to Basque people and perspectives, learning Hindi is doing the same thing but with my own people. In short, learning Basque at BSU has had a tremendously positive impact on my life, both personally and professionally. I would encourage anyone to take a Basque class at BSU –it’s fun, it’s not too hard, and you never know where it’ll take you.