Being able to speak more than one language is a superpower. They don’t teach you that in high school. The first stories I heard about Spanish-speaking culture were characterized by stereotypes of the gitanos in Spain that my high school Spanish teacher would tell us. I’ve come a long way in understanding and appreciating not only this beautiful language, but all of the cultures that use it to bring meaning to their lives. However, it wasn’t until recently that I realized the incredible benefits que brinda for my brain, as well.
In high school, my parents told me that I had to take Spanish. In hindsight, I’m incredibly grateful they were so adamant about it. Being healthcare workers, they knew how it felt to take care of a patient and not be able to communicate and connect in the way they did with their English-speaking patients. Although more than 90% of our communication is nonverbal, the emotional connection and reassurance that comes from being able to speak someone’s native language is incomparable. I see this often in my work as a medical Interpreter, where I’ve witnessed my second language become a superpower many times as it brings healing through familiarity of sound. Considering how and where language is processed in our brain, it makes sense that the same language that brought us soothing relief in infancy renders the same effect when receiving medical attention.
Nowadays, people often ask where I learned Spanish, and it’s never a simple answer. It’s difficult for me to summarize the 6 years I lived in Ecuador and my time with a Human Rights Delegation in Guatemala. Imagine how much you changed between birth and 6 years old in terms of developing language skills. It was a long period of time, and due to my personal work in Neurosculpting, I continue learning new lessons from what I lived during that time. The more self-aware I become, the more my passion grows to use language to create relationships which has become the centrifugal force of everything I do now. When I bring the people to mind who I wouldn’t know if I wasn’t able to speak Spanish, I feel a cerebral expansion that makes me extremely grateful to be able experience the joy of connecting through sharing a common language.
My personal Spanish language acquisition process has helped me to see the world in culture, not just color. I look forward to accompanying you to look at how being bilingual and bicultural plays a role in your life and highlight the benefits of how using a multicultural lens really can be a superpower.