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I accepted my first job in a country other than my own being assured that English is enough for office communication. Although all my co-workers are proficient in English, they choose to speak their native language even in conversations that include me, only turning to English when they have a question for me or a task. This has taken a toll on my self-esteem as I feel left out and not a part of the team (the company itself is small).
I have spoken with my boss about this, and his solution was me learning the native language and telling my co-workers to speak in that language with me so that I could learn faster. I agreed to that and started practicing. Although the conversations were a bit awkward due to my lack of vocabulary I felt things were going well, until I started noticing the same patterns as above - when my co-workers would have a question or task to give me they would use English, saying it would be easier for us to communicate that way, then turning to their language to speak among themselves. I still can't understand conversations and need to constantly ask them what they are talking about, which makes me extremely uncomfortable.
All this makes me question my worth in the company and feel that everybody just talks with me because they want something from me. I'm concerned especially since it is of no cost to them to talk in English when I'm around. I have asked my boss if there are any complaints about me that could cause this behavior, but he said there are none.
I feel that quitting is the only solution, but I am scared by the possibility that this is just a normal office environment and I'm bound to find the same in any foreign company I will work at. Are there other solutions that I could speak to my boss about?
EDIT: Wow, thank you for all your replies. The consensus here is that I should learn the language before making any other decisions, so I will try to speak to my boss about accelerating this process, maybe taking some lessons in private until I'm able to understand what is spoken. This seems to be the main problem - although I can make simple sentences and they can understand me, their replies or conversations often leave me dumbfounded and I have to ask for clarifications.
Now for some clarifications:
- I think that the difference between this question and the one marked as duplicate is that I have already taken the steps mentioned in the main reply but felt I was still facing the problem and unsure of how to proceed next.
- Technically I can do my job only speaking in English, as all the tasks are communicated to me in that language. But not being able to interact with the others during meetings and presentations while them focusing solely on my tasks have really lowered my job satisfaction, morale and thus productivity.
- The conversations I'm referring to are work-related. For example, some co-workers would ask for my opinion on some work thing, then discuss that among themselves in their native language, often at length (10-15 minutes) while sitting next to me, occasionally asking me other questions. I feel really uncomfortable as I have no idea what they're talking about and I can't do anything else other than stop working and stare at them until they're finished. I've tried asking them to speak in English in the beginning but now I'm too embarrassed to repeat this every time we have a 'meeting'.
- I admit that I shouldn't downplay the effort of speaking a second language, but they are proficient in English, and have to be, as we are dealing with international clients. Before coming here I have researched how the locals would react when speaking English to them, and pretty much every online guide said that they often prefer to 'practice' it instead of speaking in their native language. I have found that this is certainly not the case, even in informal settings with plenty of other foreign speakers around.