We’ve heard it often. Maybe from our own mouths or maybe from our friends, family or colleagues. “I wish I spoke another language.” As Americans, we grew up in a school system that did not naturally lend itself well to bilingual education. Yes, there are a few exceptions. Bilingual programs and curriculums are available in public and private schools for early education and some parents choose to place their children in these programs. But these were just that, the exception not the rule. They were choices made by parents as an addition to education rather than the rule as we see in many other cultures globally.
With that in mind, how do we begin our journey towards becoming bilingual or even multilingual? As a fortunate student whose parents did in fact choose to place me in a bilingual public school program at a young age, I now often hear from my network this exact question. In fact, I mostly hear “I’d like to learn Spanish” and I always respond with “why?”. If we view language as a tool, then I view the question of “what is this tool for?” as a crucial component of getting started. We acquire tools to support us on our goals, otherwise we’re just learning more sounds and words and calling it bilingual education.
If you’re someone who’s told yourself you want to learn Spanish, ask yourself what your goal is. Perhaps you’re a healthcare professional wishing to connect to your patients and their families during their care process. Perhaps you’re a teacher who’d like to communicate to your students’ parents more effectively. Traveling? Maybe you want to be equipped to navigate new places without dependency on others. There are many reasons to get started with a new language and before you do, I urge you to explore your intention. Once we set a goal, it’s much easier to create an effective path forward and the abyss of a whole new language becomes much more digestible. Looking to get started? Connect with me at Ibis Prep and we can begin to carve out the path forward based on how you wish to use your language tools.