Instill Language Learning
We are very privileged to be born and raised in the US. To have the opportunity to live the 'American Dream' everyday. Something we all take for granted. Moving abroad has opened my eyes to how siloed our mindset is. We assume that everyone will adapt to us, because we’re Americans. The world power. Language learning is something that is honestly a joke in our culture. We are expected to do 3 years of a language (which is really 3 quarters, 50 min a day) in middle school. If we gain anything, we lose it almost immediately. We learn enough Spanish to make an acknowledgement “Hola, Como Estas?... Muy bien y tu?”. Or in reality all we have actually used, “Una cerveza por favor”. We take language for granted because in our small bubble, everyone speaks English.
Moving abroad, I’ve never felt more like a schmuck before in my life. It is extremely common for people to be fluent in over 4 languages. Fluent. Children here are learning English, German and French early on in Pre-K and Elementary school and it is required to continue in all classes. What little I remember from Spanish class isn’t helpful and I've quickly realized that learning a new language as an adult is much more difficult. Especially German. It is very humbling to feel so incompetent and mediocre when typically, you’d consider yourself to be pretty well rounded. Language learning is something I hope to instill in future children as not only a gateway to open doors, but also as a courtesy when immersing yourself in other cultures. To not be that person saying, "Sorry, do you speak English?" Everyone, it’s okay to not be fluent! People truly just appreciate that you are trying and respect their culture. That you don't think that is it expected that they speak 'your' language even though you have come to their home. Again, this experience has been very eye opening.