The Bark

Here and Far Away: Opportunities With Multilingualism

Sarah Graton

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No matter where you are in the world, it’s not hard to see how language plays an enormous part in not only communication, but also culture, education, and worldview. Whether or not students plan on pursuing further education in their native language or in other foreign languages, the benefits to being able to speak to others in different parts of the world are limitless.

This coming May 12, students in the AP Spanish and French Honors courses will have the incredible opportunity to visit the Defense Language Institute of Monterey and explore potential career and educational opportunities involving language speaking.

In short, “On this field trip, the students are going to be exposed to people from all around the world- not only the people, but their customs, their attire, and their ways of presenting and carrying themselves- and they will also be able to practice the languages they’re learning in a natural way, if they so choose,” said Spanish teacher, Isabel Gomez.

This field trip offers students the chance to connect with culturally diverse people, as well as possibly discovering a career path they hadn’t considered before.

When asked about the significance of attending this field trip at the Defense Language Institute, student teacher Daniel Lehnherr remarked, “When I first moved here I didn’t know much about the region in regards to language education, but after doing some research I found out that it’s one of the centers for language in our country- around the world even- and it’s very cool to know that we live so close to a place like this. With security these days, the Defense Language Institute isn’t somewhere that teachers or students can just go to visit anytime, so the fact that they are opening their doors and making it available to students is a once in a lifetime opportunity because usually, unless you have special security clearance or work specifically for the Department of Defense, you just won’t be able to go beyond the entrance.”

In regards to multilingualism, French teacher Madame Miller had only positive things to say about the philosophies behind language learning and its application in potential careers, “Learning other languages opens windows to different ways of thinking, being, and existing- you get to become a world citizen. You need to be knowledgeable in order to be aware of the world around you. Knowing how to speak multiple languages not only opens you up to other perspectives and worldviews, but also offers incredible understanding into your own native language.”

In essence, the opportunities- like being able to participate in this field trip to a prestigious government institute- that come from having proficiency in more than one language, are well-worth overcoming any obstacles that come from developing a substantial comprehension of those languages. Besides furthering the imperative ability to communicate, language is a crucial tool that builds individual character through exposure to different perspectives and outlooks on life.

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Here and Far Away: Opportunities With Multilingualism