Jenna was asking me to remind her the name of a city in Poland that she had been planning to go for a conference. After I helped her pronounce Wrocław correctly (and was surprised at myself that I remembered it so well) she said something very interesting:
“I think it should be part of geography to also learn some parts of languages.”
I realize that lonely planet and guides will get into pronunciations. But what this made me notice is that when I was specifically studying geography, so much of the context was just entirely lost when it wasn’t coupled with a slightly deeper / local understanding. Not sure how curriculum has kept up, maybe it’s more common now.
But culture and geography are so intertwined, and connections and isolation between people have so little to do with political boundaries, it took me a lot of years after school to finally feel like I have a better sense of the world. It made me sad to realize how little I knew despite thinking all along that I knew and understood a lot more.