I Learned a New Language, And You Can Too!

Around the middle of my junior year, I was at a crossroads. I was preparing to take AP Spanish, the final Spanish class offered at KMHS, but I could feel my time with the language slowly coming to an end. I was also preparing to pick the courses I would be taking during my senior year as a dual enrollment student. I knew I wanted to continue with foreign language, but I didn’t know what to do. I could either continue with Spanish at KSU, or learn a new language. Choosing to venture out of my comfort zone, I decided to enroll in French classes for my senior year.

Wearing My Beret in Atlanta

In the months leading up to senior year, I wanted to familiarize myself with French language and culture. So I bought a cute little French verbs book, practiced making the guttural French tongue roll, and even started wearing a beret (great fashion choice).  These experiences almost immediately made French become more personal to me. For example, I will never forget the weekend I went without pronouncing the sound “th” at all because it doesn’t exist in French. My family couldn’t stop laughing at me. By the time the fall started, not only was I ready to formally learn French, I was ecstatic to continue my understanding of its culture and inner workings.

Learning a new language has taught me to see the world in a completely new way. Almost everywhere I go, I can recognize the many roots that other countries have in shaping culture throughout the United States. It also gave me experiences I could have never expected. Learning Spanish gave me food days trying pan dulce and flan from my classmates relatives, but also serious talks about racism and immigration reform from 1st person perspectives.

Even if you don’t have the option to take classes in your desired language, there are many ways to start learning. Thousands of courses are available on Youtube in almost every language possible, and apps like Duolingo help you learn many useful words and phrases. If you want a more structured approach, you can go on Amazon or to your nearest book store to purchase a “15 Minute” language learning book. These books usually cost about $15 and teach through vivid images and real life examples. They even come with a free audio app to help with pronunciation.

Regardless of the language you choose to learn, the experience is sure to be life changing. Language is like the veins of culture, and without understanding the unique ones throughout the world, we wouldn’t be able to exist in such a diverse and growing society.