This year for International Education Week (IEW) we asked au pairs to share their stories. Included in their essays was their reason why speaking multiple languages is important. We have chosen 1 winner and 2 runner ups.
Winner: Chanté from South Africa in Eileen Friedman’s Long Island cluster.
Chanté decided to teach Afrikaans, her native language to her host family’s 3rd grade class. Afrikaans is derived from Dutch and is one of the eleven official languages of South Africa. In addition to teaching them a few words and phrases in Afrikaans she also taught them about the abundant wildlife and delicious food in South Africa.
Chanté shared her thoughts on the benefits of speaking multiple languages: “In my opinion, being able to speak more than one language allows me to be more open-minded, as I get to interact with more people of different cultures which allows me to become more culturally aware. It also teaches me to multitask and to constantly process information in an efficient manner. I love learning new languages and since I’ve been an au pair I’ve learned many words and phrases in Swedish, German, French, and Spanish by interacting with other au pairs. I believe the best way to learn a new language is to spend time with a native speaker.”
Runner Up Brenda from Mexico:
In Brenda’s essay she reflects, “…when you learn another language you have the opportunity to discover a ‘new world’ and even to see the world from a different perspective.” Brenda is spending her year in Dominique Ortiz’s Arlington, VA cluster.
Runner Up Elisa from Italy:
Elisa was fortunate to learn English, Spanish, and French at her school, in addition to her native Italian. She shared in her essay that “learning those languages helped me not only to have new language skills but also helped me to learn more about the culture of the country.” Elisa is spending her year in Jennifer Miller’s New Jersey cluster.