Quote of the week:
“The knowledge of the world does not reside in the minds of old men, but in old books.”
You have heard it before. Your Spanish or French teachers have always tried to emphasize how "important" it is to learn a new language. They talk about the writing skills, the "great expansion" of vocabulary that you get, and the importance of communicating with the people of other cultures. Sure. That's something that you get when you learn a new language. However, I would argue that being bilingual isn't important because of any of these things.
|click for link to image credit|
I would say being bilingual is so much more than that.
Being bilingual opens your world to a new way of understanding things. Not just through talking to other people, but also through reading.
When I was about three, my mother gave me a book of short stories in Spanish from the famous author Rafael Pombo. These were children's books that contained valuable lessons. One of my favorites was about this tadpole, Rin-Rin, he didn't follow his mother's instructions to not leave the house and he went to a party. Well, let's just say poor Rin-Rin got eaten by a cat... While for the rest of the year I was afraid I would die if I ever walked out of my house, it did make me a much more obedient child.
However, after that, I did not like reading.I really thought I never would.
|International book fair at night, Corferias, Bogotá, Colombia|
|The 2013 flyer for the book fair|
|Performers at the festival|
|Corferias, where the book fair is hosted|
This is why I really encourage people to learn a new language. Because there is so much more to other countries than what you can see in the news or in history classes. Behind every country lies a unique culture, that is usually better seen and expressed in the country's native language.