Opinion: Si, Hablo Español (Yes, I speak Spanish)



Celia Fernandez

Celia Fernandez

Celia Fernandez is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Growing up in a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood and a home where the only language spoken was Spanish was something I lived with my whole life until I came to Kent, Ohio.

The first language I ever learned was Spanish. My mom only spoke Spanish at home, so I didn’t learn English until I started preschool. Growing up, my neighborhood was predominantly Dominican and Puerto Rican, so all I heard around me were people speaking Spanish.

I went to a middle school and high school where, even though they were not in my neighborhood, most of the students were Hispanic, making it easier to maintain the connection I feel to being Dominican. It wasn’t until I arrived in Kent that I realized how surprising to some it could be that I speak another language.

According to languagestandard.net, learning a foreign language helps foster abilities such as memorization and critical thinking that can improve academic performance in other subjects.

Learning another language is very important because it is something that can make you more marketable when it’s time to get a job. Now more than ever, companies are looking for people who are bilingual because they can offer a whole market of people to that company.

Speaking another language also comes in handy when trying to learn a new language. I am currently enrolled in Elementary Italian I, and because I know Spanish, it is easier for me to recognize the words that I read and comprehend what others are saying.

It is so easy to enroll in a language here at Kent State; the university offers a variety of foreign languages that are usually worth four credits and can count as the foreign language requirement for some degrees or an LER for others.

Kent State does have a melting pot of languages when it comes to allowing international students to study. There are many students who come from different countries where English isn’t their first language. The Department of Modern Languages also allows students to take an English as a Second Language course in order to ease their transition into speaking English all the time.

The important thing about being in a place where others predominantly speak another language that isn’t your native tongue is to make sure you grab on to your roots and never let go.