Growing up bilingual has always been something that I am proud about. I am able to express myself in two languages, and it is more than anything an advantage in the workplace. I remember as a child I learned to speak Spanish because of my family members, but I learned to read and write it on my own. However, it is important to realize that growing up with the language and speaking it doesn’t always mean you are proficient in it.
I got a huge reality check when I took a Spanish course for bilinguals in college and thought I would breeze by the class. The class was meant for bilinguals specifically because it helps students learn the grammar side of Spanish and helps fix grammatical errors when reading, writing and speaking. Learning about acentos, imperfect vs. definite, and prepositions and so forth was very challenging for me. Not only that, but also learning how Latinos from different countries use the same words but have different meanings; or different words for the same meaning! Confusing, right? Thankfully I was able to overcome these challenges and was able to complete a minor in Spanish. The course helped me have an open mind about the differences and similarities of Latin American cultures.
Even though I didn’t know the grammatical side of Spanish, I still had the advantage of being able to speak it and communicate with people in the language. This is all thanks to my parents and family for raising me as a bilingual. I think it is important to emphasize this nowadays because it is becoming more and more common for children not to get the language passed on. As I mentioned before, this is extremely beneficial in the workplace and at school. Some jobs even require you to have some form of certificate that proves you are proficient. You also have a higher chance of getting a job if you are bilingual, according to statistics. So why not make it easier for your child and teach them Spanish?
By Rodaris Richardson