La Cultura De AP
La Cultura De AP: What I Learned by Taking AP Spanish
“Senora Wade, yo voy a tomar la clase de espanol AP!”, I said with extreme excitement to my Spanish teacher, who always supported me in my endeavor to become fluent in Spanish.
“Are you sure?” she turned to me and paused, obviously shocked that I was interested in pursuing another year in Spanish. “You do know that it is a lot of speaking, correct?”
Despite the internal and external doubts I had about taking a college-level Spanish class, I decided to sign up. While it’s been a humbling journey, I am proud to be an AP Spanish student because of the amazing lessons it has taught me about the importance of learning a new language.
Learning a new language takes you outside of your comfort zone.
As a German, blond haired and blue eyed high school student, it was initially embarrassing for me to approach people and begin speaking in Spanish. Often I would laugh, sinking under the weight of my doubts and insecurities about the language. However, over time, I began to fall in love with the romanticism of the language, and my doubts that I had about speaking the language are slowly melting away.
Learning a new language forces you outside of your limits. You can’t be embarrassed trying to speak the language, and still expect to be taken seriously. It’s more than memorizing the words (palabras), it’s about being immersed in the heart behind the words.
Learning a new language gives you a new identity.
I’m not saying I have dissociative identity disorder, but I consider myself a mosaic of the different cultures I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by. Biologically, my family is German and Native American with a touch of British, Irish and French, but my heart is a collection of infinite cultures. Learning the Spanish language gave me a personal connection with not just Spain and Mexico, but other countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, and Costa Rica, all of which I hope to visit one day. Being able to communicate with natives from these countries is an incredible experience, and has given me a greater appreciation for the diversity in America.
Learning a new language requires that you focus on a different culture.
It’s easy to become fixated in the belief that because we were born speaking this language, that it’s a language to which everyone else should adapt. However, by signing up to take a different language, you’re putting your time and effort into understanding another country’s beliefs and values. This cultural awareness is something that people spend thousands on when they travel to a new country, yet you’re given the opportunity to in your own hometown.
So whether you speak already French, Italian, Spanish, or German, you can expand your knowledge by challenging yourself to learn a new language.
Do you have a positive experience in learning a new language? Let us know in the comments below!
Julia Schemmer is a senior from Norco High School, where she participates in five AP classes, is the president of the Female Empowerment Club and Link Crew, and publicist of Chinese Culture Club, American Cancer Society, and the FIDM Fashion Club. Aside from managing the communications at Her Culture, she is the founder of She Speaks Media and The Face of Cancer, editor for The Prospect Magazine, editor in chief of Motivation Daily, and contributor for the Huffington Post. Her future endeavors consist of becoming an international human rights lawyer, foreign correspondent, diplomat, and finally seeing the day where Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar.