Languages As A Way To Advocate And Build Meaningful Relationships

Learning languages has always been a passion of mine because it helps me foster deeper relationships with diverse people. 

I began learning languages when I was a baby. My parents taught me to be fluent in Arabic so that I could be connected to my heritage and culture, and so that I could communicate with relatives overseas. As I grew up, I employed my Arabic so that I could help others. I currently volunteer with a non-profit: “Tarjimly,” so that I can serve as a translator for refugees in camps. This is very meaningful to me because of my relationship with the refugee community. Also, it demonstrates that with languages, we are able to advocate for diverse people on a more personal level. 

Because Arabic taught me the value languages adds to helping others, I became fluent in Spanish because of the large Hispanic community near me and because it is the second most spoken language in the world. Spanish has been helpful to me while I volunteer on a panel at Project SKIP. Project SKIP is a truancy prevention program held at Court Services in which truant youth come before a panel that determines what services will help them the most so that the youth regularly attend school. Often, the truant kids that come are Hispanic and their parents sometimes are not fluent in English. Because of my Spanish, I am able to translate what the families are saying to the panel so that the youth get the best services to help them avoid truancy. I care a lot about this program because I am able to aid adolescents attain a quality education and my language skills has helped me understand my clients better.

Additionally, I am conversationally proficient in Italian. While taking AP European History, I adored how culturally rich and beautiful Italy is so I decided to take Italian lessons outside of school with an Italian professor. Knowing Italian has helped me make Italian foreign exchange student feel welcome at my school and has allowed me to understand more about Italy’s culture from speaking with pen pals. Also, when I traveled to Italy, I was comfortably communicating with locals. This allowed me to not only understand more about Italians’ problems, but also further validated to me that languages are essential for comprehending what others are going through and helping them. 

Finally, languages are important to me because I aim to be an international human rights lawyer. Knowing many languages is very beneficial in this profession, as many of my clients would be based outside of the U.S. I care deeply about preparing for my career not only through legal and diplomatic experience such as my internship with a lawyer or U.S. Youth Delegate to the U.N. position, but also through preparing to make sure I can build meaningful relationships with my clients to make them trust me and feel comfortable around me. I see languages as the perfect avenue to garner such relationships because as Nelson Mandela once said, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." As a person who is very passionate about advocating and helping others, I want my words to go to peoples’ hearts. That is why I get so eager to better my language abilities.
Posted by laabdelmoity on Aug 28, 2018 8:40 PM EDT