Pursuing a new language can be good for you
Being bilingual can help you in many aspects of life from personal development to job prospects
Multicultural education is essential especially for people who are actively involved in such a diverse region like the Greater Toronto Area. Being aware and respectful of different cultures promotes inclusion and uplifts students of different backgrounds, setting them up for success in their future.
There are several ways to immerse yourself in a culture from reading about it to sampling their tasty specialties. But one unique way to learn is by picking up a new language. I strongly believe that learning a new language should be a task on everyone’s to do list as it bridges gaps between communities and contributes in personal development.
Being able to speak a culture’s tongue helps you communicate with them in a manner that is the most familiar and comfortable for them. Approximately 17.20 per cent of McMaster students have an international student status.
These students experience a huge culture shock upon entering a foreign country and many face language barriers. As a result, they will often seek people of similar backgrounds to them. This can be harmful as it creates a gap within the campus community and does not allow for these students as it stops them from communicating with other cultural groups, or practicing the language native to the country they have come to.
Being able to communicate with these students in their language can help them come out of their bubble gradually. You can help them avoid the culture shock by integrating bits of their culture within the relevant community. In this manner, they will feel more confident and open to the idea of immersing themselves into this new culture.
Furthermore, being bilingual, trilingual or even a polyglot helps tremendously in ones personal life. The common belief is that having more than one language under your belt helps secure better job opportunities. This is true as in an exponentially diverse and inclusive world, employers are keen on their candidates having such a skillset so that they are able to communicate with customers of several backgrounds and with overseas markets.
Before moving on to a completely novel language, you can also expand your fluency in your mother tongue. Approximately 17.6 per cent of Canadians are second generation immigrants. As second generation immigrant myself, I sometimes feel disconnected from my mother tongue as I spend most of my day communicating in English.
As a result, this makes feel disconnected from my culture and I find this concerning because if this is how I feel now, how disconnected will the generations that come after me be?
So in order to keep your mother and father’s culture(s) alive in you and the generations that will come after you, it is important to stay connected to your mother tongue by continually improving your fluency in the language.
It may seem daunting at first trying to learn a new language from scratch. However, once you overcome one barrier it is usually smooth sailing from there as you begin to make connections between the structures of languages and vocabulary, allowing you to learn multiple languages.
Knowing more than one language is a unique skillset that is currently in demand. Not only does it bring together different cultures, but improves the soft skills of a person who pursues it. Being bilingual or beyond will open new doors for you and you will also find that it makes exploring new cities and watching foreign TV shows much more enjoyable.