Taking Pride in One’s Own Native Language

Taking Pride in One’s Own Native Language

By: Digital Nomad Diversity Awardee, Maria De Leon

Many generations have lived and continue to live in a society where norms are
perpetuated, practiced and lived up to. In the world of languages, the question, “What is the correct way to speak Spanish?” has been raised. But the reality is that there is no such thing as a correct way of speaking Spanish. There may exist an academic standard, but not a more correct Spanish language.

For this reason, one’s pride in our identity or identities can be influenced by the way
society views how one should behave and represent themselves. For instance, my identity of being Latina and a Spanish native speaker whose parents are from Central America,
Guatemala, almost prevented me from studying abroad specifically in Spain. At Butler University and at my hometown, Indianapolis, Indiana, I genuinely take pride in allowing myself to speak the beautiful language of Spanish. I was surprised and sort of disappointed in myself to find out that I became insecure of my Spanish language after I applied to the study abroad program in Spain. Since, the Spanish that is spoken in Spain is associated and perceived as the proper Spanish. I grew up learning, listening and speaking Guatemalan Spanish. I thought to myself that my Spanish was not going to be accepted and rather I would be studying abroad to improve my Spanish skills rather than practice the Spanish language that I know how to speak.

However, after having a conversation with Dr. Irune, Spanish professor at Butler
University, quickly made me realize that my insecurity stemmed from an ideology that I had internalized. I remember stating, “Studying abroad in Spain would be a great opportunity for me to improve my Spanish.” Dr. Irune, without hesitation corrected me and said, “No, your Spanish is great, you do not have to improve your Spanish but rather this is an opportunity to practice your Spanish.” Four months later, I did not come back as a new person, I came back with a new appreciation for my bilingualism. I realized that the Spanish language itself is diverse and offers a unique cultural experience. As a Latina I get to travel to Spain and Latin American countries and continue to grow an appreciation for how the language allows you to be open-minded about other cultures.

To all my Spanish native speakers who want to study abroad either in Spain or Latin
America, do it. Whether you speak Spanish dialect from Mexico, Guatemala, Peru or Nicaragua, or even Spanglish, your Spanish is enough and will only make your study abroad experience more meaningful. I learned that studying abroad is not about how you will become a changed person, but learning how to take pride in everything that makes up who you are. Which is what being a Bulldog is all about, pride in oneself

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply