~ I think it’s actually you’ll get a better job from the Dominican when you do speak English. And I think it’s also a higher rank, like a higher social status.
* I went to a British school —
* — since I was 4 until I was 18. We only had British or Australians or, I don’t know, from New Zealand, but then we never got the accents. We never got the British accent. And because everything that surrounded us in Colombia was American. And you?
+ Actually, my native language is Arabic, and the second in my country is French. So I had to learn English in high school, and I liked it. So, I was always trying to watch movies in English and watch series in English so it’s how I learned many expressions. But, you know, when I got to med school, I couldn’t take too many classes in English because I didn’t have time. So for me, it was either — only movies, only on TV, and I had to practice it, a little bit, when my friend went to America. So when we were talking on Skype I was learning with her friends a lot.
For me, it is an international language. It helps because whatever you get to go, whatever you are, you have to use it because it probably will work. Also, it helps me to practice my English because all the resources of the new stuff in medicine are all in English. It’s not French anymore. If you have to learn, if you have to progress, everything is in English. Now, I have to practice it more than ever so I can progress in my whole life. My personal and professional life.
~ English has been very helpful for me too. If I would not speak English, I would not even be able to live here. There’s a lot of opportunities I could have missed. I think that I could have somehow managed to get by without it, but I get, it’s a really good point, if that you want to travel it’s useful. If you’re doing research, it’s useful cause most texts don’t even have time to get translated.
~ Even professionally, it connects a lot of people, and I think that because of English you can actually say like, “Oh, I’m working for this company, and they can transfer me to another branch in another country for two years, even though I do not speak the language because I can continue working in English.”
* Me for example, the more I travel, my English is getting worse. You start meeting a lot of people that can’t speak in English, but maybe it’s a different type of English, just this traveling in English. It’s international English. It’s really strange. Writing is so much easier, no?
~ I actually found that when I speak, I can get my ideas in order, but when I’m writing I just put everything together, and then my coworkers are like, “what are you trying to say?”
* For me it’s just the opposite. For me, I like writing in English, but I get very nervous when I have to speak English.
~ For that what I do is I read a book in the language that I feel that I’m lacking. But if you’re reading medicine books too, you’re crazy. That takes a lot. I don’t understand half of those words.
+ You know, my chief asked me to translate some articles from French to English, and it was so hard for me to do because there were medical terms that I did not know, that I cannot found on internet. Now I’m looking for some schools where I can learn some medical English, because actually it’s so different from the real English.
* You can have a new career. You can translate medicine stuff from French to English. I also believe that French is much more … It’s more complicated, more complex than English, you know? I maybe feel that, for example, French is better when it comes to expressing than English, yourself. Do you feel it’s better?
+ For me, I feel more comfortable in French, especially in stressed situations.
* I think I have different personalities, regardless of the language. But I think that sometimes when you’re speaking English, you are less serious. Happier. When I’m speaking Spanish, I could be more serious, and just like, darker than in English. I feel that. Also because I’m Colombian, sometimes when I meet someone for the first time I get assumed of my identity, of me being from South America, so I’m like Carmen Miranda basically.
+ I feel cooler when I speak English. In French, when you get to speak French seriously, it’s classy, I think. Really classy.
~ That’s true. I think that since we also grew up with the French education and not so much the slang, it’s more of like, a snobby French too. French are very snob, too. They’re very education forward, how you pronounciate words, “oh, je prends le français.” With Spanish, I feel like you. I feel more serious. Especially since Dominicans have also such a bad reputation, I feel that I have to prove myself, to be like, “No. I’m well-spoken, and no, when I talk my accent is not Venezuelan,” like everybody tells me. “Yeah, I can be educated and Dominican at the same time.”
I always feel that I have to be more strict and more tac-tac-tac than it’s in English, and I let myself go. I don’t think when I talk. “Oh, who cares. Whatever. Somebody will understand me.”
* Words you don’t have in English for me talk about humans being conscious of their relationship with daily change. Like for example “como amaneciste?’ would be like how are you this morning, but it really means something like, “how are you with the sunrise?” Amanecer is dawn so it would be like a verb is the human action of dawning. Weather is a great topic, humans should be concerned of how the world is every day. I was born in Bogota, which is like a cold weather, you know, like, a very trashy and insecure, and poor London. So I still see my Spanish as a serious one.
+ For me with Arabic, it’s so casual, it comes so naturally. And I would say that now it’s pretty similar with French. I do everything in French, so it’s pretty much the same thing. Spanish, for me, sounds sexy.
* You know a few words in Spanish?
+ Yeah, like two or three words.
* Go on ahead.
+ I’m trying to make sentences, I’m so terrible in it. I know like bailar.
~ That’s an essential one.
+ You know, I think … you cannot use a language everywhere. I think every language is worth to learn. Especially for the cultures.
~ I was gonna say about that. I think there’s actually very North American, that I feel that people … like, my sister who lives in Texas, so I went there a lot. Like, “Oh, we speak American here!” You can see it with Trump, too. “We speak American! This is America.” I think it’s also the culture, since they were not so long ago, the biggest, la puissance la plus grande. The strongest economical potencia. Because of of that I think that it also gave them this feeling that they were better than everybody, and I think that that’s where it played out, that you actually wanted to be an American, and speak American. Well, it’s English.
I don’t know. I think it comes from that…You won a country with wars and killing of people. Because of that you want to show that you are stronger than everybody else, and that’s why people now establish a language and establish a power because that’s the way of controlling and showing that you have power over things.
And I think that that mentality hasn’t changed everywhere. It’s slowly changing, cause France, for old people, like French do not speak any other languages. You would go to France 15 years ago and you would speak to them in English and they would be like, like they would get mad at you. I don’t know.
* What I was going to say: I think it’s the same in Argentina, for example. All these countries that have been built up with immigrants, they just had to build an ego and nationalism, because they were trying to put everything together, you know? They were a patchwork of identities and cultures, and so nationalism was really important. They’re just like, “We are immigrants, but we’re just going to like, close-”
~ “But we don’t want any other immigrants.”
* “We don’t want anymore. We just want white people.”
+ It was hard for me too, when I went to Spain. I feel like in Spain, people speak only in Spanish.
* Yeah, that’s true.
+ When I was lost and I had to ask for something, I was looking for young people, because there were more chances that they could speak English.
* I think here in Spain, if you’re from a high class, you speak French. They look towards France more than learning English. That’s great for us because work opportunities and job opportunities are more available to South Americans here, because we speak English and Spanish.
~ Now I think that more and more, I hope that people grow up with more than one language, ’cause it allows you also to be more sympathetic towards other people. When I hear my mom, who has a very broken English and a very broken French I admire her because when she was 25, that’s when she started to actually learn another language.
~ Her French and English are broken but she can communicate and she can speak. I think it’s amazing, because at least she made an effort to learn another language. It’s not perfect, but it’s good. She’s very good at it.
* For example, my mother. She used to travel every month to the US. When she turned 23, she started traveling every month for work, and she never learned English. Ever. I don’t know how she did it. I have no idea how she did it.
+ Yeah. You know, my mom has a broken English. She can handle herself when she’s traveling. It’s very funny. Like, in Turkey nobody speaks French, so she’s like “Oh, please, est-ce que vous pouvez me montrer où se trouve…”
~ She went directly to French.
* You know, that’s crazy because you were able to speak to your family in another language. I never had that. Knowing English for me just makes me and my cousins and my sister completely, in that sense, disconnected to the rest of my family. We can’t relate to them in a huge part of our identity, you know? We can’t talk about many stuff with them because they don’t know the language. That really makes a difference between generations, I think, in South America.
~ I have to say, I’m also lucky my step-dad speaks five languages. With his daughters, my two sisters — we are very lazy, so when we’re having a conversation we just say the first word in whatever language that it comes, and we can finish a sentence in French, finish it in English, and having some Spanish in, like to finish the words.
* That’s something that you have, with your siblings. Like my sister, we throw out words in English like, all the time. Certain words, we just talk in English. Or if we want to say something in a certain attitude, it’s just in English. But you know what has happened to me lately? I feel if I’m not speaking in English, I get bored. Lately, I just want to speak in English because I feel like even speaking English, that means that I’m speaking with someone who’s different from me, culture-wise, and that we’re both meeting halfway. I’ve become addicted to speaking English with people.
~ I would love to learn how to speak Arabic.
+ Even … I am Arabic, and my native language is Arabic, but I don’t speak Arabic that well. I don’t understand it every time
* You don’t?
+ I’m more comfortable in French than Arabic. Because you know, when we get to speak it everyday, in our head, we think we’re speaking Arabic but like, there are actually French and spanish words in a different accent
+ When it comes to Islam, the native language of Islam, the beauty of it, is Arabic. There are A lot of things that I don’t understand, so I ask my dad, I ask my mom, I ask people around me. It will be so important for me that my kids learn Arabic, and know how to spell it, how to write it, and to understand every word.
~ Do you have another side than religion, or focus of your identity that you relate to Arabic?
+ Yes sure. It’s the culture, you know? Even though we have a lot of Arabic countries, it’s really interesting to see how our cultures are so different. It’s very much about the history too, it’s not only about the religion.
~ You know what I think most funny about is, is how every Spanish speaking country can easily understand each other, while Arabic is so different from country to country, depending on the accent.
+ Yes that is it
* Yes, I think that’s the best thing about Spanish, that you cover so many places by knowing Spanish.
+ We have basic Arabic, we call it Fusha.
+ Fusha. It’s the basic Arabic. If you get to speak Fusha, this is the most difficult thing to speak in Arabic. If you speak Fusha everywhere, people will understand, Arabic will understand you everywhere in the world. If we don’t use the accent, and speak only the Fusha, the basic Arabic it will be easy to understand each other.
+ But I have always done my work in French. For me, English is some extra thing.
~ Even Wikipedia, most of the time I have it in French.
* That’s crazy for me. It’s English. If I need to find something in Google or something, it’s English. I don’t even do it Spanish.
~ I never used to Spanish outside of speaking with my family and friends. So for me, Spanish, it’s going to be really with my friends and family, and that’s how I’m gonna use Spanish, because I never went to school in Spanish, I never worked in Spanish, I never even received a proper writing Spanish education.
+ We are pretty much similar, her with Spanish, and Arabic for me. We have always learnt everything in French, and now we’re using English to progress and learn more things, in our lives. So that’s pretty much it. Not like you, who are using it everywhere and love to do it, to speak in English. No. It’s different for us.
~ Yeah. For us, English is a tool.
+ Yeah, exactly.
* I feel it’s really expressive. It was really cool, because I was actually able to develop more intellectual side of my Spanish identity in Argentina, which is super intellectual. I’m still going towards English when it means to look for something or read some kind of information or something, I’m more into English.
+ In high school when I learned English, my teachers were always speaking about British English. We never say that, “Now we’re learning some American expressions.” It was always about British English.
~ I think that that is because you’re closer to Europe.
+ Yeah, probably.
~ When you think about it too, Americans, I just think it’s that they’ve been secluded from the world. I don’t know how to say it. They’re more in a little bubble.
+ Yeah, exactly. It’s like a closed circle.
~ I just think it’s education because I don’t even think that Americans are stupid. The only thing is that you have different values, such as only two weeks of paid vacation, and people are afraid of taking them, because they’re afraid that when they come back, they won’t have their jobs anymore. That they’ll give them to someone else. So I think it’s more living in fear and ignorance, than actually not being smart and open minded.
I really think it’s that. It’s ignorance and fear, and because of that you restrain yourself more, and you do less things because you’re afraid that if you go on vacation, you’re gonna lose your job. So because of that, you don’t get the same opportunities to visit other countries, to meet other cultures, and things like that.
+ Yeah, I think there are some cliches in America that you’re stuck with. People have reached such a great level, like she said, you have such great universities. So it became such a closed circle. If you have reached a lot of things in your life through the years, that doesn’t mean that you can not learn more from other people, and other places in the world.
* But you know what I feel? I feel that we don’t get to meet these Americans that much. I mean, because they’re not traveling out of the country, or we’re not traveling to these places as much. It really was kind of something we were able to see with this past elections, that actually most of America is ignorant. They’re just there, in that bubble. We don’t get there, and they don’t get out of there. But they get to make huge decisions, like electing Trump.
~ And start nuke wars with North Korea.
~ It’s like, my fiancé just said, America’s a pissing contest.
* It’s a pissing contest?
~ Yeah, America’s a pissing contest.
~ Actually, in the Dominican we have a bunch of racism too because of even your hair. Oh my god, your hair. Your hair is too curly, you have bad hair. You have really bad hair, you have to straighten it. You can’t come to work, you can’t come to school, because your hair is not straight. To be honest, it’s… sixty years ago our dictator, the dictator that we had in the Dominican Republic he was trying to “purify the race”. Like he actually wanted people to only to not procreate with black people so that people will come out whiter. Some people still think like that. Haitians who immigrated and had kids born in the Dominican are not even considered Dominican, and they don’t have the same rights, and because of that they also have disadvantages. So how can they progress in the same way or how can they come up to the same level if they don’t even have a birth certificate? And so I think that in the States it’s exactly the same thing. Maybe not as radical because they might get a birth certificate but they don’t get the same opportunities, and they don’t start at the same place either.
~ Don’t even get me started on sexism and in the Dominican Republic. If you want to start a job, you have to piss on a stick to make sure that you’re not pregnant. They don’t want to hire you if you’re pregnant just so they don’t have to pay your maternity leave.
* Yeah. That happens in Colombia too.
~ So yeah, every woman that’s looking for a job, she’s gonna have to pee on a stick.
* You know what has helped me a lot lately? I realized, okay, I’ve got a lot of opportunities, more than like 80% of the population in Colombia. But still realizing that I’m South American and a woman has really helped me to just be gentle with yourself. You cannot go and compete with someone who has privilege since the beginning. And it maybe has helped me lately to understand that. In Colombia, it’s super sad because you see that people who actually get in debt to go to universities in Colombia don’t stand a chance. Because everything is so readily like determined. If you’re from a different —
~ You go work for your parent’s company or for your uncle’s company.
* Yeah, so you see a lot of people who are struggling to be able to pay university, and you see that at the end it’s just going to be the same. Education in Columbia is the worst. It’s really, really sad.
~ It’s the same in the Dominican. Personally I like what I do and I’m happy at the end of the day with what I get to do, so I think I’m also lucky because of that. I know that not everybody does. And because of that I don’t mind putting in a couple of extra hours just to get something done. But the thing is, I would not sacrifice my personal life for my work. A job is just a job. I think that’s how people see it here because you get to actually, maybe not go to school, but do something technical or you get to learn what you want to do and you still know that you’re going to make a decent living-
* Also because I’m super responsible and how do you say, como, muy exigente conmigo misma .
~ Si, eso es. Yo creo que es la exigencia con uno mismo, y cuando tu tienes el chance de poder hacer lo que te gusta, tu también puedes ser más exigente contigo mismo, que sentir presión de alguien atrás que te está obligando.
* Pero sabes de qué estaba hablando el otro día? Que cuando eres mujer, te exiges mucho más, y crees que todo es más difícil, y que tienes que trabajar muy duro y que todo va a ser muy complicado
* Y a mí me estaba pasando últimamente, sentir que uff lo tengo que sufrir.
~ Pero también las mujeres tienen miedo de pedir un aumento de salario, mismo si ellas saben que se lo merecen.
* Ah, sí obvio.
~ Las mujeres tienen miedo de pedir una promoción para otro empleo, que ellas saben que le va a abrir más puertas, mientras que los hombres no tienen este miedo. Nos ven como bossy o nos ven como que, ay, qué mandona esta tipa —
* Sí, o no lo mereces, o simplemente no lo mereces.
~ — o dicen, “lo tuvo porque se acosto con el jefe.”
* He siempre tenido como jefes mujeres u hombres gays. Entonces he nunca tenido un jefe hombre . Y justo ahorita, trabajo para un jefe-hombre, y no sé manejarlo, y quiero que sepas que me soñe que estaba siendo “sexually harassed” por mi jefe.
~ Ohh wow.
* Es porque nunca he sido — entonces, el otra día, él me invitó a comer, y yo sé que es muy normal, es un como meeting, pero para mi era como, no sé qué está pasando — jaja.
~ Jaja. No, y mismo como mujer, tú no quieres que nadie crea que estas ahi nada mas porque, o tú eres una cara bonita o porque tú eres mujer, tu sabes.
* Exactamente. O porque eres super-friendly, entonces tu jefe cree que puede estar, como que, he stands a chance.
+ Hey I’m back.
* So we started-
+ I’m thinking about my chief, he’s been a little sexist lately because we are all girl residents and also the attendings are all women. And when some of them gets pregnant so they have to take a vacation, like few months vacation — he was so sick of it. He was like, “Oh my god, the next year I’m gonna be having only boys. Won’t accept any residents, girls.”but I think he was just trying being funny, well hope so
~ Are you allowed to slap him or … How does it work?
* I think that jobs should be more like considerate with women because, for example, I suffer from terrible menstrual cramps. Like, terrible. They’re really, really bad. I lost consciousness … It’s just really bad. And I would like to find a job where I am able to call and say like, “I cannot go to work because this is happening to me.” And that’s not possible, you know?
~ And even if you work with only women then you can-
* It’s going to be worse. It’s going to be worse because they’re gonna judge you and they’re gonna say like, “That doesn’t happen, just take a pill,” and women are, like, expecting more of you.
~ That’s true.
* It’s worse. And they’re super competitive and they’re always trying to get your job.
~ I think we also have to work harder just to prove that we are serious about something.
+ Like, it would be so much cooler to work with guys because I would feel less pressure, less competition. And they’re always judging you about your work or your because they are women and they know what we’re able to do. And also because, from my experience — that makes sometimes a lot of problems in work. So, me, I’d rather work with guys. I think it would be a bit easier.
* Yes. In my last company we were like, 40 employees or 30, maybe, and we only had 3 guys working. All of us were girls. And the guys that worked were the ones that were packing stuff and carrying heavy stuff, so it was like all of us were girls. And it was terrible. The training, all of us. We weren’t nice to each other, and at the time I had a high position because I really worked for it, and I was able to get in the top of the company, and the girls below me, some of them were older than me, they were always trying to, like, pull me down. So I had to be super serious and not nice and very closed with my knowledge of the company so I wouldn’t allow them to know special stuff, so they wouldn’t be able to take my job. And with guys it was so much easier. Then I worked in another place where I was the only girl and it was the best.
+ Because women care.
* I’ve never felt that I couldn’t compete with a guy for his position because I always think I have some other skill that guys don’t have, just because I’m a woman, that could actually work for, or bring something new. But I once had a situation when a position was open and it was between another guy and me, and he was my boyfriend, so it was very strange. He didn’t care at all about the job, but he got it, and I was younger and the only girl at the company. And I ended up doing all his work even though he got the position because he was too lazy, and that for me was like — I was very young, ok?
~ When you see women are less competitive towards men than towards other women … And I worked in a very female dominated field. Like, there’s only women in my office. All of them only women. And I’m lucky that we all somehow get along, we’re very helpful towards each other. My fiancé is laughing because there is some things that, yeah, you sure have some inconveniences with those people. I think that we should change the way we are competitive and what we work towards ’cause I would more likely want to pursue a man’s job just to get more of respect than pursuing another woman’s job, because I feel that I’m just filling in a hole and not getting what I think I should be getting.