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.
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.
Story written by Miranda Meyer, IEM/MPA, ’18
Spanish and I have a love/hate relationship. Some days I absolutely love listening to it, speaking it, and thinking about it. Other days, I struggle to come up with words, my pronunciation is terrible, and if I hear one more song in Spanish I want to scream.
Story taken from interview with Francesca Aka, MPA, ’18; Written by K.Throgmorton
Growing up a ‘third culture kid,’ Francesca learned quickly how to adapt to new places and new people. Francesca describes being a third culture kid as being a bridge between cultures. She navigates her family culture and the dominant culture of wherever she is.
Story written by Merideth Bush, MPA, ’16
Spanish has always been an important presence in my life. My mother lived as a medical missionary in Guatemala before marrying my father, so I became familiar with the language at a very young age.
Story taken from interview with Karla Piacentini, IEM/MPA, ’17; Written by K.Throgmorton
“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” ~Ludwig Wittgenstein
Language is a bridge that connects people across cultures that engenders an intimate authenticity among language learners. Learning a new language forces you to make mistakes and falter in efforts to gain a better handle on the new language.
Story written by Natalie Cox, MPA, ’14
I began learning French as an eighth grader in a small town in Washington State. It was a largely arbitrary decision, in part governed by fantasy of windows to new worlds opening, and the possibility to connect with a large number of new people, previously closed off to a girl from middle-class America.