Bilingual is Better

I’m the product of a bilingual school and I will be forever grateful to my parents for making the decision to give me such an amazing educational opportunity because I’m sure my life would not be what it is today had I gone to a regular school.

Unfortunately, I’m currently not able to do the same for my kids. As you’ve probably read here before, my options in terms of bilingual or dual language immersion schools in Denver are pretty limited and, for now, Vanessa is just going to our neighborhood school. I would love nothing more than for her — and eventually for her brother to — to be able to get a bilingual education. But until our family situation changes, I’m in charge of her instruction in Spanish.

Since I know first-hand the benefits of a bilingual education, I figured I’d share these with you, in case you’ve been thinking about it for your kids and need a little push.

1. Biliteracy — While it’s great to speak two languages, it’s even better to read and write in both languages or be biliterate, like myself. I thank my bilingual education for this ability since I was taught all of my subjects in both English and Spanish.

2. More choices in resources/literature — I can’t count how many times I’ve been doing research and I’ve been unable to find the information I’m looking for in English and I’ve turned to Spanish and a whole new world has opened up (or vice versa). In terms of reading, there’s nothing like enjoying a novel or a poem in its original version instead of the translated one as something is always lost in translation.

3. Opportunities to study (& work) abroad — A lot of kids who have the opportunity to get a bilingual education have a much easier time going to study abroad and continue to practice and expand their second language. Many times, this also translated into the opportunity to work abroad, which opens a whole new set of opportunities.

4. Easier to learn additional languages — I’m convinced that since I was educated in two languages, adding a third one came fairly easy. The school I went to believed so much this was true, that we were introduced to a third language of our choice by the time we were in fifth grade.

5. More professional opportunities — Being schooled in both English and Spanish is the one and only reason I’ve been able to have a successful career as a journalist in both the English and the Spanish media. Being bilingual has given me a lot more professional options as well as a higher salary.

Notice that none of the benefits on this list include all of the cognitive and health benefits of being bilingual. Taking all this into consideration, it’s impossible to argue that speaking two languages is not a huge advantage in today’s society.

{Image via woodleywonderworks}

Disclosure: This sponsored post is part of Univision’s Education Week and the Es El Momento campaignAs always, all opinions are my own.

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