As a freshman in college, I was prepared to minor in French – it seemed like the logical thing to do since I had been taking it since 8th grade. However, after a very frank discussion with my advisor, she told me that since my plans were to remain in the domestic workforce, Spanish would help me a lot more.
Of course, this post is not to knock French at ALL – I love the language dearly and hope to pick it back up later in life.
A little over a year ago, I enrolled in my very first Spanish class EVER, which was an intensive 4-week class that taught the material from 101 AND 102. I continued into the intermediate level classes and this May, I took the class in advanced grammar – which is the first official class in the Medical Spanish minor.
As an aspiring social worker (trabajadora social), I will work with clients from all populations. My career path at the moment is to work as a medical social worker in pediatric palliative care (medicina paliativa) – and my education in this field has truly illuminated the extent of ethnocentrism in the U.S. health system.
I have worked with clients using a translator in my previous field experiences and although that is an important skill to practice, it made me realize how much I did not want to do that in my future profession. I find it truly empowering for a client to be able to speak directly to me without the use of a middle-man, and learning Spanish will allow me to do that with members of a massive community here in the United States.
It saddens me to see posts and videos on social media that show people degrading others for speaking another language in public. These individuals are in for a big shock since a number of bilinguals in the U.S. are projected to grow and keep on growing for the foreseeable future. Multilingualism is the future – and you bet that I am going to get on that train now.
Learning a new language is a beautiful thing and allows you to connect with so many people. Even if you never achieve fluency, learn some new words and phrases – travel to a new country! Allow your social capital to grow and join this movement. Your native language is a great place to start, but there are so many opportunities awaiting you outside those walls.