Why I Feel Pressured Yet Grateful to Learn Another Language

By Jenny

In my school, we’re required to study a foreign language for 2 years in order to graduate high school. The language class I took during my freshman year was Spanish 1 and now I’m taking Spanish 2.

My Spanish teacher during my freshman year knew how difficult it was to learn another language so she didn’t push us so hard and maintained a slow, steady learning pace. But my Spanish teacher this year is the complete opposite. His class is fast-paced and he doesn’t review much from Spanish 1 because he expects us to know and memorize everything. He pushes us to our limits. We have projects we have to do and presentations must be done in front of the whole class while speaking in Spanish. It can be really frustrating, but overall it’s good that we all have to learn another language. We’re expanding our knowledge and furthering our education. It also opens more opportunities in the future and is good to put on our college applications.

I went to Chinese school for Mandarin for about 2 years and learned Cantonese by hearing from my family and relatives. Learning Cantonese and Mandarin made me appreciate the two languages more. However, to this day I barely remember them at all. Some people think in terms of stereotypes, believing all people from the same background must already know the language related to their ethnic background. But that isn’t necessarily true. Personally, I was pressured to learn the two languages from my mom. She wanted me to expand my knowledge.

The process learning Spanish is fairly similar to my experiences with Cantonese and Mandarin. I didn’t want to learn a new language. I went to school to learn it. I had other classmates on the same level as me. I had homework and learned the basics of the new language. I feel pressured to learn other languages but I also feel grateful for this wonderful opportunity.

Some people regret not learning another language. Some can’t handle the stress of being able to correctly speak and read in another language, learning it while also having to excel in other classes and manage family, college, report cards and friends. I admit that I have days like that where I don’t want to study or learn Spanish, but I keep working at it because I want to connect to people and cultures through different languages.

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