Positive Effects on Student and Work-Life
By Dinael Hanan
A Few Words from the Author:
As a lover of both computer and human languages, I’m always free to talk and learn more about all kinds of people. Below is a list of places where you can reach out to me if you have any specific questions, concerns, or just want to chat.
Twitter: @digital_dina email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My unique experience as a former immigrant to Canada from an Arabic-speaking country also provided me with the opportunity to develop my pre-existing English skills. Later on in life, I studied French in an immersion program for part of middle and High school. The inclusivity and empathy I received from adults and friends in my life are what formed my confidence and world view from a very young age, setting the tone for I would live the rest of my life. Language learning has a special place in my life because of the opportunities, friends, and experience that it played a role in.
One point that a lot of people make when arguing for learning languages is how much more understanding and kind you become to those different from you. This is because learning another language forces you to think in a different way, understand why certain people act the way they do, and understand the why behind a lot of world events that you hear about on the news every day. A great example of this is the French language. Unlike English, French grammar structure and vocabulary are completely different. If you would like to say that you’re going to miss someone in French, you’d actually be saying “tu me manques” – which directly translates into “you me miss” or can be thought of as “you’re missing me [from your life]”, a completely different way of conveying the same emotion than you would as an English speaker. Although this is an interesting and sound proposition to make, there’s another side to this argument that isn’t explored as much as I believe it should be.
As a relatively happy and fulfilled teenager, I can see the effect that multilingual people have had in my life. The most understanding, kind, and motivating teachers that have directed me towards being a better student and person have all been teachers that know or grew up around more than one language. The best friends and coworkers that I’ve had have all been people who know or grew up around more than one language. The positive and welcoming environment that these multilingual people in my life have created allowed me to reach my potential by creating a comfortable and encouraging place to work and learn. When I was first told about World Languages Organization, I was quick to ask to be involved. My life would be completely different if it weren’t for my mentors, friends, teachers, and other people in my life that were kind and understanding of me and my cultural identity and practices. Most of these people were not born with this kindness but rather learned it through knowing and learning different languages, which forces them to interact with people who are much different than themselves.
World Languages Organization strives to bring to the world the love of language learning in an attempt to make peace all over the world, more specifically schools, more like the safe spaces that allowed me to grow to my full potential, allowing us all the chance at improving the world and giving us the ability to focus on important world problems that we can help solve.