Growing up in Mexico City, the only exposure I ever had with another language was watching movies in English with Spanish subtitles. I never thought about how important knowing a second language would be – at least not until I moved to the US.
My family moved to the US when I was 11 years old. I was supposed to begin school in the fifth grade. Counselors told my parents that middle school would be extremely difficult for me because I didn’t know English, but they went through with the enrollment anyway.
I hated it. Walking down hallways and going into classrooms where I didn’t understand what was being said to me made me angry. I told my parents I didn’t want to go to school, and often times I’d cry because of it. However, with the support and help from my parents, friends, and ESL courses, I worked my hardest to be able to understand the language, and I’m so glad I did.
Many people take language for granted, but I learned the opposite from a young age. I learned a new language, not because I wanted to, but because I needed to in order to succeed. To me, being bilingual was a necessity rather than a luxury.
We live in a community populated by hundreds, even thousands, of different cultures. If you drive down to the store or a restaurant, you’ll almost always hear people speaking another language. Millions of people in the US speak more than one language, and at least 350 languages are being spoken in homes across the country, according to the US Census report from 2015.
In schools, foreign language courses are becoming more available to students. Some schools even require students to take at least one language course throughout their studies. It’s becoming more and more clear that learning multiple languages will soon go from a trend to the norm.
As adults, however, learning a new language is easier said than done. But it’s not impossible. You can start learning a new language by simply adding subtitles to your favorite tv show or listening to podcasts in other languages. You may not understand it all at first, but with time you’ll begin to recognize words and eventually start making out sentences.
The Community Center has offered a variety of language courses for children and adults. Starting in June, we’re happy to bring another one to you. Registration for our Intensive Spanish class is now open! In this class, you’ll learn the basics of the second most used language in the US through reading, writing, and speaking. For children, Me Gusta Spanish teaches the same with games, activities, and songs! These classes, along with hundreds of other programs, are included in the All Access Passport at no additional cost.
Eliut Morales is the Writer/Content Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.