Language shapes our identity and defines us as human beings. We use language to communicate our ideas, express our feelings and sometimes to even relieve our frustrations. Through language, we connected with each other and with the world.
For the past six years, I’ve learned about the positive aspects of knowing more than one language. When I moved to Mexico, in 2010, I was already speaking Spanish, but it took me almost a year to immerse myself in the culture and to respect and appreciate the Mexican beliefs and values.
During my high school years, I used to watch many Mexican and other Latin American telenovelas. At that time, I had no idea that spending so many hours watching telenovelas would bring me any positive experiences. Even though at the end of high school I was already speaking and understanding Spanish at a conversational level, it was not until I arrived in Mexico that I experienced the authentic Mexican culture.
What did I learn during my stay in Mexico? And what were the benefits of learning Spanish?
Learning Spanish gave me the opportunity to immerse myself into a new culture and enriched me with values, beliefs, and customs that were different from my own. I remember the first week at my job in Mexico when I was trying to learn so many things and at the same time feel that I am part of the community. Hearing people speaking Spanish on television is completely different than hearing them laughing and joking in an office environment. People in Mexico are very cheerful, and they like to make jokes. Most of them will also treat you like family from the very first day they’ve met you. It did not take me long to learn to
Being able to communicate with other people in Spanish helped me create better human relationships among people with different background.
I’ve meet many different people while I lived in Mexico. With some of them I've become close friends, and with others I just had great talks, learning something new every time. Speaking Spanish helped me communicate better with those around me, and I became more aware of the cultural and social differences that can exist in Mexico. Sometimes, the language barrier might keep us at a distance from interacting with others, but when we finally overcome that obstacle, we learn to empathize with others and help them, in turn, to overcome whatever struggles they might have.
Living and working in Mexico and speaking Spanish every day, made me see the world as a constant opportunity for learning instead of a world of frustration and confusion.When you set your mind to that, you get to learn new things every day. During the time I lived in Mexico, I learned a new word or expression every single day. I have to admit that I’ve also invented so many words but that’s the beauty of speaking three languages – English, Spanish, and Romanian.
By learning Spanish and continuously improving my language skills I’ve experienced a feeling of self-worth and achievement.
Back in high school when I realized that I could speak and understand Spanish, I did not set myself a goal of mastering the language. I had no idea that someday I will get to live in Mexico. When I moved to Mexico, I improved my Spanish skills by allowing myself to make mistakes and to learn from them. Whenever I did not know how to say something, I asked a lot of questions. I've also begun to read many books in Spanish.
Being bilingual or multilingual is more than taking a course in a foreign language. It is the experience and participation in all aspects of the life of a group of people. Through language, we can understand people’s thoughts and feelings and spread their culture around the world.