This year I have been peer tutoring two freshmen in Spanish, and our experience is one that is very meaningful to me. Being half-Argentinian, Spanish is the language of my grandparents and also the one that my dad grew up speaking. I have always wanted to achieve fluency in Spanish because the language is such a large part of who I am, and i truly enjoy helping other students improve as well. The world is wide open to those who are bilingual, a fact that I know not only from my time in Argentina but also from the last two weeks I spent in Peru over spring break. It is one thing to visit another country to try and understand it’s culture but it is another experience entirely (and a far more rewarding and enriching one) to be able to communicate with the people of that nation and see their world through the daily lives of those who actually live in that country.
And this is why I find our peer tutoring sessions so rewarding, the fact that I can help fellow student develop a skill that allows them to expand their world, interact with people from a different culture while charing a common language. Speaking Spanish allows for opportunities abroad, better job options in their careers, and also an increased knowledge and respect for international cultures. It becomes harder to ignore the problems plaguing the international community when you form connections with new friends abroad, and becoming bilingual is an excellent way to ensure that one never loses sight of the world around them. I’m very grateful that I can share this aspect of my culture with other students and give them the opportunity to experience the world empowered and enriched by a second language.