Estamos acostumbrados a aprender la lengua inglesa en un contexto británico o americano pero la realidad del inglés abarca mucho más incluyendo otras sociedades de mucho peso, en Oceanía es la lengua más hablada y desconocemos tanto de sus gentes y costumbres, gracias a George, esta semana hemos aprendido mucho sobre Nueva Zelanda, su país y junto con Australia una de las naciones angloparlantes más importantes del hemisferio sur.
English is the main language of the planet and we use it for travelling around the world, to understand diverse forms of art, for entertainment; it is a prime tool to work and for education and it is normally tied in with two nations: UK (country of its birth) and USA (the most hegemonic society). But English is also the main language (both officially and unofficially) in many countries in all the continents: it is official in countries such as South Africa, Canada, Australia or India. Another example is New Zealand, nation where our English speaking auxiliar comes from this year.
George introduced all our classes to his country´s kilometric beaches and large cities (Auckland and Wellington), mountains (for many of us so far, one of the most popular characteristics, by Peter Jackson, of course), its University (Dunedin) and other geographical features. We saw pictures of their breathtaking landscapes, seas and lakes.
We also learnt about other aspects than geography: population, economy (the importance of dairy production and sheep), their summer Christmas (including a flowered tropical Christmas tree) and NZ´s nature (trees and animals), where it is more difficult than expected to find a kiwi, national bird which even gives name to their nationality, they are better known as Kiwis than as New-Zealanders (and it is not offensive at all).
George described New Zealand with traditions and folks, main figures, it was funny to discover that Sir Edmund Hillary was a Kiwi or that the first bungee-jumping was there. Maori culture was another focus of his speech, it was exciting to learn about their buildings, religion, (their so trendy) tattoos (ta moko) or their dance (haka) what brought about their national sport, Rugby, and their national team, the All Blacks.
It is great to discover places we do not know, now I am sure most of our students would visit that great country.