I’m 37,207 feet in the air over the Labrador Sea. While it seems as if we are flying at a slow creep, we are actually traveling over 560 miles an hour. Paris is still a half-day away. And although I’ve taken the opportunity to visit the city and the country on several occasions, I’m still nervous. Is that funny or sad?
Since the 6th grade, I knew I wanted to speak French. To me, French sounded like a secret, and I wanted to be in on it. Yet almost immediately, I realized that learning a foreign language would be one of the most difficult things I could have chosen for myself.
It’s almost ironic in a way that something so innate to us as humans could be so hard to achieve. And yet, if we all grow up hearing multiple languages, we learn them without even trying. And once conquered as a child, these languages will stay with us throughout our lives. It’s as if we get to experience multiple worlds within our own planet. And not just view them from the outside, but as an insider. It’s like a superpower. But that particular superpower never truly happened for me, as it has for other lucky bilinguals out there. So here I am, 28-years-old, about to start my fourth year in Middlebury’s graduate degree program for French, and I still don’t feel as if I have the natural knacks of learning other languages as some do.
But I am by no means complaining. It is because of where I come from that I am so determined to grow our language program and make this superpower happen for my students. I believe that an education and empathy for others are two of the greatest attributes we could ever ascertain as humans, which is why I want them both for my students.
So, regardless of how strenuous or stressful my upcoming semester might be, I have to remember my main goal in life: to learn so that I may teach. Wish me bonne chance!