Guest post by Vielka Burey-Jacas (@VielkaBurey)
I have dedicated my column to one of the greatest investments we can have: Another language.
The reason I have decide to write about a language as an investment is because of an article I read towards the end of 2010 which started like this :
Q.: If a person who speaks three languages is trilingual, and one who speaks four languages is a quadrilingual, what is someone called who speaks no foreign languages at all? A.: American
I must confess, that beginning really bothered me but, it brought my attention because America has been a leader of the world as long as I can remember. Which brings me to another staggering revelation earlier in the year, that China will be the leader of the world by 2020!
Somehow I am not surprised by it, seeing the decay in our education system. We, Latinos in the United States, have the advantage of speaking at least two languages. There are financial benefits down the road for individuals who learn foreign languages early.
The earlier you learn a language, the better. The earlier you develop these skills, the easier it will be for you to use these languages in your career. There are many situations on which it’s beneficial to have mastery over more than one language — teaching, business, politics, journalism and probably many more that I haven’t thought of. Experts also say that, to learn a new language without accent the best age is before he or she is 13, so instilling this love in our children is also imperative.
I am fully bilingual in Spanish (one thing is to speak a language to get by but ,other to read, write and speak the language correctly). I also have a vast knowledge of Portuguese. I have had the privilege of having my two children go to a public school with an extraordinary program.
My son’s elementary was voted the best school in the country in 2009. I have chosen German for their language, since they already spoke Spanish at home and English at school. The most gratifying part was when a native German told me that my children spoke German as natives. They are only not just learning how to speak, but the idiosyncrasy of the region as well. On 5th grade, they get go to Germany as exchange students.
I am pro learning a new language because- as per my own experience- it opens a new world to you. It brings us closer. It is as small world after all…
Here are some online resources to get you started: Better your Spanish
- Study Spanish – for free
- 1-2-3 Teach Me
- Learning Spanish Programs
- 100 most frequently used Spanish words
- Spanish Resources
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vielka Burey Jacas is a Certified Financial Planner and a volunteer expert at LifeTuner. Vielka has a passion for helping family, students, homeowners, businesspersons, employees and other Latino community members expand their opportunities through improved financial literacy, and has extensive experience in the private banking and investment planning sector, having spent many years with both domestic and international banks.