It’s my life, inevitably.
For my last two years at school, I studied a course called “English Language and Literature“. It was my favorite class. We studied classic works in English, including 1984, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Death and the Maiden. I loved all the books we read, and because we scrutinized every theme, story line and character, these works of art still highly resonate with me.
This year, however, I realized that my love for this course goes beyond that of just “English”. Though it is the language that I think, write and sleep in, my multicultural upbringing has given me the gift to look at everything I do with a globalized perspective.
I have read books in English ever since the day I started learning English (so, 10 years ago). Most of them were English Literature books, set in the Western world. As I grew older, my reading spectrum expanded to a wider selection, and some of them were English translations of books written in other languages. Though I hate reading books in Spanish (unfortunately), and my Chinese level is really basic, I have learned a lot from reading books in English about or set in other cultures, and I plan to continue doing so.
The fact that I have a connection with both the Eastern and Western World (and the Latin American, if you consider it a separate entity) means that I’ll always continue searching for knowledge that is beyond what I’m currently reading or learning. Which leads to my love for the “Language” part of “Language and Literature”.
A Taiwanese native who grew up in Peru, I attended a Peruvian-British school that compelled me to live a life of three languages, and hence – three cultures. I speak Chinese at home, Spanish elsewhere, and English at school and online. Not a day goes by in which I don’t have to speak one of these three languages, and 16-17 years of this balancing act has been enough to prove to me that all three languages and cultures will continue to be incredibly important in my identity.
I didn’t really see this until this year. Before that, I was more focused on English, then Spanish, and left Chinese for last. After all, I don’t live in China/Taiwan, and I don’t plan to do so; that’s what I thought. What I didn’t know was that Chinese is not just a language; it’s an entire culture that represents the Eastern World, which I belong to. I don’t know when I’m going to get back to truly study my native language yet, but I hope to do some study about its culture before then.
As of now, I’m trying to connect the two Romance languages that I already dominate with, ironically, a third Romance language: Italian. I initially took it up for fun, but then I realized that studying Italian vocabulary and grammar enriches my Romance language vocabulary synergistically. I wouldn’t even bother researching about Spanish/English grammar because the rules are unconsciously ingrained in me, but reinforcing these rules through Italian enables my Romance languages to come even more naturally.
I also realized that the more I study a language in my own volition, the more interested I become in everything that has to do with this language: its culture and social implications. It makes me want to visit Italy, and read about it. I actually got really excited when I read and watched The Godfather, because of the Italian cultural/social references. Maybe this is just a language infatuation that will go away after some time, but I honestly don’t think so.
I am not in college yet (bridge year), and I have come to see my education as a preparation towards any future path I take. My interests will evolve as I grow older, which means that my path is subject to change at any point. This means that my higher education has to prepare me for the future with the end goal of preparing for me, not an end-goal or career. Besides Psychology (my intended major), I aim to continue studying languages and literature (possibly on my own). It is through languages that I get a greater understanding of the societies that surround me, and it is through literature that enables my creativity and imagination to take me to new places.