When you start a new year at school, we all have to go through the torture that is "get to know you questions." What's your name? Where are you from? What's your major? This dreaded time of year also brings the most random questions, like what's your spirit animal? What would you do if you were President for a day? And one of my favorites: What superpower would you want?
I always hear the most stereotypical answers of flight, telekinesis, speed, and strength. While I will appreciate having the power of flight to whisk myself away to my class or around the world in seconds, there is one power in my opinion that tops them all.
And that's the power to speak any and every language.
Since the seventh grade, I have been in Spanish classes as a requirement for my education. Coming from a Hispanic background, I felt that it was important that I learn Spanish and be able to understand what my family was speaking. Although I am not anywhere near the native speaker level, I can speak, listen, read and write in Spanish, and for now, I consider that a mini-success.
Over the summer as I studied abroad, I was hit with a language barrier. I think as native English speakers we assume that everyone in the world will accommodate us as we travel around the world. Hearing language not familiar to me such as Hungarian, German, and Romanian opened my eyes to the similarities and differences that they share. I could read some words in Romanian and French because of the common roots that they share with Spanish. Spanish, French, and Romanian are part of the Romance languages, giving them commonality even across borders and cultures.
How amazing would it be if you were able to communicate with anyone on the planet? I would give anything to go to Europe or Asia, travel to each country and be able to speak their language and converse about their culture, their stories, and their beautiful country. I feel like you would get so much more out of your experience if you were able to understand the experiences of the locals in the country you visit.
As a journalism major, I know that communication is key to getting your point across in a brief and straightforward way. Communication is the key to solving a lot of problems that we have in the world, whether they be domestic or international. If you were able to communicate in any language, the communication problems of the world could be solved.
Language is a powerful superpower. It can open doors of communication across cultures and barriers that no other superpower could. Superman may fly high and be able to carry the heaviest burdens, but anyone who can speak multiple languages is truly a superhero.