I am bilingual. I was born an asian, but raised in the land of freedom and unbelievable abundance of opportunity. Thus, I was grew up to speak, think, and comprehend two languages fluently. However, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was anything from easy.
I grew up seeing, hearing, and facing many different forms of judgement from just being able to speak a different language. I was judged for being different, for having a skill that they didn’t have.
A language isn’t something you can just pick up and adapt so easily. It takes tremendous effort and dedication to make it even stay on your tongue for a couple seconds. There may be people in the world, who can scoop up languages here and there as if it was nothing, but that’s not everyone’s ability is it? Majority need to take steady steps to build a sturdy foundation through education and experience.
It wasn’t any different for me. I came to the U.S. when I was 6. I was barely mumbling basic Hangul (Korean language) at that time. Then I was thrown into school surrounded by unfamiliar faces, culture, and language: English.
I was made fun of, laughed at for my effort in learning their culture and language. Through trials of humiliation and hundreds of stumbling, I was able to reach fluency, which people around me today can’t really tell if I wasn’t born in the States or not.
Got a question for you: Why should a person be judged for something they earned through years of hard work and dedication? They invested time and effort to acquire a skill, a language, something that can open more doors for them.
A language is not merely a skill or a new collection of sounds you can utilize to communicate with others. In fact, a language has the power to open and unlock doors to the souls of others.
Have you noticed how people, who can speak the same language become closer and befriend much faster than people, who cannot communicate because of a language barrier? This isn’t 100% always the case; however, there are many cases like these.
For someone touring around in a country, where the native language of the land isn’t familiar to their ears and communication is difficult, there is nothing more inviting and pleasant than meeting someone, who can speak their language. This precisely one of the reason why having one or two foreign languages in your sleeve gives you a boost in the employment/hiring department. It surely makes you more competitive.
I’ve been in many positions where I was able to lend a helping hand to those wandering around aimlessly. It was easier for me to approach them speaking their home language.
A language is not only a means of communication, but also a good representation of the country’s culture and history. As you learn to speak the language and understand the history behind it, you open your horizon towards the culture of that country and of the people. It helps you become more aware and more understanding.
Being able to speak more than one language isn’t strange. It’s a talent, it’s actually something to be proud of and to be praised for. Don’t give strange stares or gossip about the next person you see speaking a language you cannot understand. Instead, why not try to strike a conversation with that person and learn a word or two? Don’t chase an opportunity walking pass you, grab it with an open heart. It will surely help you in the long run.