¡Bienvenidos a Bee-lingual bees!
This blog is dedicated to create awareness about the importance of being bilingual in our modern world. This beautiful country is populated by many different ethnic groups that share their traditions and languages to make this a richer and prosperous place; which gives us, its occupants, a tremendous opportunity to explore beyond our origins and reach out to discover other cultures. Today I will share a little bit about my experience as an immigrant in the US.
I started learning English when I was in kindergarten back in Mexico. My sisters and I went to private school and we had mandatory daily English classes for at least an hour. I loved my English classes! Every single one of my English teachers was my favorite. I still even remember their names to this day! At the time, I couldn’t conceive the benefits I would obtain by learning a new language, and I truly and sincerely thank my parents for the daily effort they made when we were growing up so we could receive an excellent education.
I always thought I was good at English since the beginning. I enjoyed the classes, I loved my teachers and I loved speaking the language; but without a doubt, the thing I loved THE MOST was listening to music in English. I can now say that music played a key role in my personal process of learning the new language. And now that I’ve mentioned music, I have to share with you the fact that I’m a singer and that I have been leading bands of different genres for the past 15 years. Please don’t think I’m rambling or bragging here. I mention this because I am the perfect example of how crucial and helpful music can be when trying to learn a new language. Music made everything so much more fun in my experience, and I think this method could be used with other school subjects to help kids learn faster.
When I was little, my dad was the one who introduced me to music in English; he used to listen to The Bee Gees, The Carpenters, America and many other great bands and although he didn’t speak the language, he would mimic the sounds he would hear and it almost sounded as if he was speaking English. That was the first moment I became curious about language learning and the factors that affect this process.
After a few years I learned that the older you are, the harder it gets to learn a new language. As we grow older our adult brains start losing the ability to pull off steadfast learning as time passes, while kids live their lives like ‘sponges’ absorbing every bit of information they learn about. This makes childhood the perfect time to be exposed to other languages and start learning.
If you ask me, I would definitely encourage you and your loved ones to learn a new language. It is a way of exploring a different part of the world without even having to travel (which I agree it’s the best part, but there’s always time for that in the future). I believe that speaking a different language than your native tongue gives you a different perspective; it broadens your horizons and opens opportunities for change and improvement in various aspects of your life that may have never crossed your mind before. I believe it is also incredibly important to raise bilingual children. I’m not a parent myself, but when I get my own I will gladly encourage bilingual education. Our country hosts a racially diverse population and I would love for my future kids to take part in its growth development and cultural enrichment.