Story by Gina Pham, MPA, ’19
After 27 years, I’m finally grasping my own identity. Language has both confused and formed my identity over the years.
Born in the US to Vietnamese refugees, I didn’t know English until I started pre-k. As a moldable kid, I simply assumed whatever identity was imposed on me. In school I was American; at home I was Vietnamese; in between school and home I was whatever strangers treated me as, which varied depending on the situation. I was a hyphenated (Vietnamese-American) kid so my life straddled two very different identities that often conflicted with one another.
Eiad talks about learning English almost by accident. While his father was teaching his sisters with textbooks and CD programs, Eiad listened to English music, and played video games. Soon, the language came easily and he was pursuing his education in places like Cyprus and Montana, USA.
Patricia has always been a traveller. She is someone who loves arriving in a new place and rises to the challenges of being in a new place, surrounded by a different culture, and an unfamiliar language. Airplanes provide the mechanism to easily move across the globe and languages provide a new window to understanding each new place, its people, and its culture.
When William speaks about languages, his whole being lights up. He is positive and speaks with passion and energy. It’s not about how many languages, how fluent you are, or how many vocabulary words or grammar rules you know when it comes to learning and speaking different languages. William identifies with languages for a variety of reasons and differently in different circumstances. Some ideas and feelings are easier to express in one language or another and directly translating isn’t always enough. William speaks about a multi-lingual lifestyle and communication style that he works diligently to cultivate.
Story taken from interview with Erik, BAIS/MANPTS, ’18; Written by K.Throgmorton
Who says learning languages is too hard? Well, a lot of people actually. Enough that Erik listened to them for a while in high school. It was until he tried for himself that he found learning languages was actually pretty easy. Easy perhaps isn’t the best word but languages do come quickly for Erik.
Story by Adlan Margoev, Dual degree NPTS (MIIS/MGIMO), ’18
Since I remember myself, I’ve barely spent a day speaking just one language. My parents come from the Pankisi Gorge, Georgia, where around ten thousand people, called the Kists, have been living for a couple of centuries. Another ten thousand, my family included, live in Russia and some other parts of the world.
Story taken from interview with Amy, IEM/MPA, ’18; Written by K.Throgmorton
Amy’s language journey started when she was very young and has only grown as her passion for language has developed and matured.