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Bilingualism, or multilingualism, is such an absorbing term but is indeed a prevalent phenomenon in California. Besides having a bunch of acquaintances whose families immigrated from all over the world, I am an international student myself. The context of diversity is a boon for multilingualism. Speaking English as an essential tool, but we inherit our cultural assets by communicating fluently in our mother tongues. Luckily for people who can chat across mutliple languages, here are some beneficial aspects of being multilingual.


two women talking
Mimi Thian

You can always brag in front of your friends

Have you ever noticed those envious eyes on you when you talk to the waiter in another language? You are the one who plays the role of Google Translate. Whenever I dine out with my friends, I can always order for the whole table with my Cantonese. The ability to speak in more than one language makes us stand out at the workplace too! I have a friend who customers specifically wait to purchase with because she can communicate in Spanish with them. It leaves them with a friendly impression and brings each other closer.

You can network outwards more than monolinguals

Language is always a carrier of shared culture. A few words can be the fastest and the easiest way to connect with interested parties and to find someone in common. Submerged in an English-speaking environment, we find it surprising to meet someone who knows the same language we do. Intimacy occurs during the process of language exchange. Language usually equals the recognition of identity, not only for the same ethnic group, but also among people who show passion in this particular culture. Being multilingual can be seen as an appealing trait for socializing with partners, too.

It’s simply a helpful tool

I adopted French in my first year of college for barely-substantial reasons, after longing to travel to Europe for a long time. As it was too hard for me to roll the tongue and pronounce words correctly in Spanish, I decided to learn French instead. Learning French opened up a new world for me. I can make good use of it whenever there is a chance for me to employ French literacy, concepts, or words. I can listen to music in French, watch French TV dramas, and read French signs and memes. Learning another language expanded my life. 

Kellyn Simpkin-Girl In Front Of Eiffel Tower France Hat Paris
Kellyn Simpkin / Her Campus

Gaining linguistic and cultural knowledge delights us. It can also raise our IQ, since it involves cognitive processes in brain functioning. If these benefits are not attractive enough, or you are looking for practical skills, consider becoming a tour guide, an interpreter, or even an instructor! There’s always a bonus that comes with knowing an alternative language.

Yet there are sometimes also downsides when picking up a new language. For example, code switching can bring confusion. Accuracy is lost in substantial conversations. I always mix English words with Chinese characters when I type out one sentence and try to effectively converse; my mom would undoubtedly disapprove of the vagueness and confusion. In this case, maintaining a balance between languages can be exhausting. 

I think there is still a long way to go for everyone to work out a harmony between dialects. However, it is always worth a try to learn something interesting, especially when it is a living tool for a certain population. 

 

Yishan is a recent graduate majored in Communication at UC Davis. She is down to basically anything fun and looking for creativity here at Her Campus. Now she has started her journey of grad school at both LSE and USC. She would like to pursue a career at PR, marketing, or advertising after graduation.
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