From The Immigrant Who Thinks Everyone Should Learn A Foreign Language
Politics and Activism

From The Immigrant Who Thinks Everyone Should Learn A Foreign Language

The more I spent time with American people, I began to notice a common lack of interest in learning anything about other cultures and countries, particularly cultural costumes and foreign languages.

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Since I moved from Mexico to the United States many things changed in the course of my life for the better and I am very grateful for how the U.S. and its people have helped me grow in several different ways. Because of that, I want to give America, my beloved and current home country, a simple suggestion.

Learn another language.

Since I came to the United States, I noticed many cultural differences between the Mexican and American cultures. As soon as I came, I began to really enjoy immersing myself into the American culture; mainly because of how awesome its people, its costumes and even its food is, specifically Whataburger (A.K.A the best fast food place in America). Nonetheless, the more I spent time with American people, I began to notice in them a common lack of interest in learning anything about other cultures and countries, particularly cultural costumes and foreign languages.

Don't get me wrong, I am by no means trying to demean the American people because to be completely honest I love you all, which is why I am writing this with the hope you may learn something or at least become more aware of this problem. But in all honesty, almost every time I've asked people who only speak English why they don't have an interest in learning another language, most of them reply something along the lines of "why should I learn another language? Everybody knows English already, we don't need to." Trust me, I know the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world and because of that, almost everyone speaks English, which might make you think that you do not necessarily need to learn another one but I am telling you, learning other languages can be truly invaluable.

This lack of interest is obviously not entirely the fault of the people because I know schools across the country do not do a great job when it comes to teaching their students a second language any earlier than high school or middle school. And to be clear, this suggestion of mine does not only apply to monolingual Americans, it applies to everyone who only speaks their mother tongue. Languages can help you connect with people from different backgrounds and countries in a deeper and much more meaningful way. Learning a second, third or even fourth language can help you understand and truly immerse yourself in other cultures. It can look great on your resume, and it can also make you smarter. In my opinion, the reason why this "monolinguistic dilemma" needs to end is not only because of what it can be gained from learning another language but partly because of what it can be lost from not learning as well.

What I mean by "what it can be lost from not learning" is that by not learning, people may lose cultural awareness, expose themselves to higher levels of ignorance, and most importantly, people may develop a bad habit of narrow-mindedness that can ignite a feeling of not wanting to explore things other than the ones that are already known. These things can be particularly problematic because, in the long run, they can affect several aspects of your personality, such as your ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations, and your ability to work with others.

On top of that, it has been statistically proven that people who speak two or more languages are much better multi-taskers and have a reduced risk of acquiring mental illnesses in later stages of life. In fact, "researchers found that those who spoke a second language delayed certain types of dementia by an average of 4.5 years."

I really cannot stress enough how beneficial learning another language can be. I mean, I have been thinking for hours how to write something that might get to you and convince you of maybe considering learning a second language in the case you only know one. However, I have come to the conclusion there is really nothing I can do to explain how awesome it is to learn another tongue.

As it is said in my university "from the outside looking in you can't understand it, and from the inside looking out you can't explain it." It really is one of those things that you got to do for yourself in order to truly see how beneficial it is. I hope that if you only speak one language and happen to be reading this, you consider taking this step.

All I can say is that if you choose to become fluent in another language other than your own, you'll probably do yourself one of the biggest favors you've ever done and you will definitely not regret it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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