This I Believe

Paul - Bowling Green, Ohio
Entered on September 6, 2007

Este Yo Creo

In this great country of the United States of America, I have the freedom to pursue what I believe. I have the freedom to practice a religion of my choice and to say what I think. I believe that for the safety of our country and for the safety of these precious freedoms, all Americans should try to learn another language.

My friend Theda is teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) in Japan. She explained that the Japanese people find it incredibly rude when Americans visit Japan and expect its people to instantly speak English to cater to their needs. Likewise, the Japanese find it very respectful when any visitor attempts to speak Japanese. Besides the simple fact that traveling over-seas would be more fun, learning other languages is culturally respectful. This is a huge topic of debate in 21st century United States. Many Americans, like the Japanese, find it rude when illegal immigrants from Mexico enter the country and find jobs while being unable to speak English.

Language issues arise right here at Bowling Green State University. My friend Justin is in a class in which the professor can barely speak English. While the professor might be a genius in her field of employment, how can she possibly hope to convey new information to students when she cannot even say their names?

Regardless of opinions, these immigration issues are not just going to suddenly end. That leaves two options: learn another language or sit back and let things take their course. I for one refuse to live in a country, state, or city in which I cannot communicate with even my own neighbor or grocery store clerk. Therefore, I would choose to learn another language.

I believe that if more Americans knew a second language, we would be better prepared to not only protect ourselves but to deal with the other problems that arise because of language differences. Near my hometown, a local newspaper wrote an article about a hospital’s virtually unknown service. A group of bilingual people are on-call at the hospital. If the hospital receives patients and is unable to help them because of a language barrier, they look on a list and call a person in to translate. This is a great example of how a difference in languages can affect a community and can prevent vital services such as medical help.

It just comes down to work ethic. We can complain all day long about foreigners entering our land, but that won’t do much good. By actually learning another language, I believe that not only are we protecting ourselves, but we are also retaining leadership in our homeland.