Arabic Class, Boise

The Benefits of Challenging Kids with Learning a New Language

There are not a lot of places where children can learn a foreign language as a whole. In most programs, they simply learn basic words, phrases, and mainly songs. But here with us, they also learn how to read, write, and speak.

I constantly hear that kids cannot concentrate for very long, or that kids have to play in order to learn. And maybe that’s correct, for some. However, I started with English in preschool and took classes all the way until I was 12-years-old.

Personally, I loved it. I remember reading out loud and recording myself so that I could listen to my pronunciation later (I wasn’t as good as I thought I was then).

I also remember one time—I was probably between eight or ten years old—I had to sit by myself on the airplane. Two older ladies started talking to me in English and I was able to answer their questions. As we were getting ready to get off the plane, they saw my dad and they congratulated him because I could speak another language and, of course, it was one of the proudest moments of my life! My father looked at me and said: “Muy bien, Juli”

Another thing that we did in elementary school was read Shakespeare. Of course, they were readers adapted to our level of English, but when I found out who Shakespeare was, I mean, it was a big deal! Another proud moment for myself! I remember reading Hamlet, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, etc.

I did not take English in high school and at one point, I realized I was losing a lot, so I asked my mom to start taking classes again. Then I started taking private classes and did that on and off for a long time.

When I was 17, I went to Europe for the first time and I wanted to order french fries at McDonalds, but for the life of me, I could not remember what they were called. I was very nervous and told the person that I wanted ‘fried potatoes’, but it worked! When I got my order, I had french fries! Often times, that’s just how languages work. You don’t have to speak a language perfectly in order to communicate, to show appreciation, or to be polite.

Thanks to speaking English—not perfectly—  I was able to communicate whatever I wanted, and I got every job I applied to while living in Argentina (my home country for those who don’t know).

I was not gifted—I was a normal girl that took English classes from the time I was 4 or 5 years old. Starting so young, it made me confident that I could study and learn any other language that I wanted. And that’s what I did!

It might not be for everybody, but don’t think your child cannot do it. It is a tool that, sooner or later, will give your child a huge benefit. Whether socially or for work, I do believe it’ll bring concrete benefits later on.


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    1. Hi Alana,

      Thanks so much for reaching out! I’ll be in touch with some more information via email.

  1. I found it interesting how you mentioned how knowing a different language can help you increase your chances of getting a job in the future, and how learning while you’re young can help you know the language faster. My son wants to make sure his son grows up to be the successful man he knows he can be, but he has never mentioned how learning a second language can help his son. I’ll be sure to pass this information on to my son so he can assess all his available options!