There are seven different languages offered as subjects at Trinity University, which makes English not the only language spoken on campus. Language diversity goes beyond the classroom with bilingual students, both international and local.
“My first language is Vietnamese. I started learning English when I was four years old, but I studied it seriously for the SAT when I was in high school,” said Bella Nguyen, a junior mathematical finance and accounting major.
The university has a language requirement for all students and highly encourages students to learn a new language through classes and study abroad opportunities. Many bilingual students utilize these opportunities to become fluent in a third language.
“I’ve been learning Spanish for eight or nine years now. When I moved here, I was encouraged to take up another language. Since French and Spanish are pretty similar, [Spanish] was easier to learn,” Adrien Lavigne, a junior international business and Spanish double major.
Camila Londono, a junior mathematical finance and international business double major, is also attempting to learning her third language while at Trinity.
“I’ve taken French courses at Trinity. I consider myself to have intermediate conversation skills,” Londono said.
The difficulty of learning different languages varies from person to person.
“It took me a while to get [English], but it wasn’t that bad. Chinese is my third language, it is way harder than English,” Nguyen said.
Regardless of the various difficulty levels of languages, it takes time to become fluent.
“I’ve been learning [English] since I was in third grade. You’re not going to feel fluent about it for a lot of years,” Londono said.
Lavigne has found small details can sometimes get lost in translation and other minor issues can arise.
“Since English is my second language, there are still some words I don’t know to the same extent that Americans do,” Lavigne said.
Although there are minor inconveniences, knowing more than one language has numerous benefits.
“You have a bigger network because you can reach out to people who speak either Spanish or English,” Londono said.
Speaking more than one language offers opportunities and knowledge that can only be accessed with that ability. Whether in or out of the classroom, in the U.S. or abroad, the chance to learn a new language is there.