I speak Japanese, English fluently and also a bit of French. I couldn’t imagine using 3 languages in my daily life before I learn them, and I feel proud of being able to speak multiple languages.
I have been learning and using Japanese since I was born as both of my parents are Japanese. I have not had any trouble with learning Japanese as I use it everyday. One thing that caught my attention is that Japanese has a lot of letters (hiragana, kanji, katakana) compared to English. Japanese also has a lot of registers (formal, informal, colloquial etc) which I got to learn about how there were hierarchies in Japan. Taking native level Japanese class in MYP and HL Japanese Lang&Lit in DP allowed me to learn change in Japanese language and characteristics of Japanese through analyzing literatures and advertisements.
I started learning English when I first moved to New Zealand in 2012. In the beginning, I did not understand any English at all, but surprisingly I was able to learn English quickly, thanks to my effort and EAL teachers, enough to allow myself to communicate with friends and teachers. Through learning English I found out that there are not as many registers in English compared to Japanese, which was interesting for me as Japanese has a lot, compared to English. Taking English classes allowed me to learn the history of English(how it changed, by reading Shakespeare etc), and how writers change the use of language to express their feelings which were interesting for me.
I started learning French when I moved to Switzerland in 2013. I didn’t only learn French due to class, but also because not many people at the tennis club (I play tennis so I often went there) spoke English but only French. By studying it at school and on my own I started being able to talk with people at tennis club to a good extent in 2 months, allowing me to make more friends. I found out that French also has complicated registers like Japanese, which I found it very interesting as English, language spoken in neighbouring country, doesn’t have while French does. Learning French during MYP allowed me to speak in a more sophisticated way and understand the French cultures by reading French books and watching French movies. Since I take Japanese as 2nd language in DP I have not been taking French class for more than year, but I have been, and will thrive to maintain my French skills by listening to French (interviews, speeches, music etc), reading French (articles, books) and watching French (movies).
Being able to speak multiple languages have full of advantages. I can allow myself to interact with people from different countries, which will help me to learn about new cultures and have wide perspectives, accept differences and being open-minded. I can also share Japanese cultures with people from different background. Attending to International School is a perfect place to do them, as there are a lot of opportunities for all of us to express our ideas and thoughts, which some of them are very helpful in understanding cultures. Moreover, I can get more sources of information in different languages. For example, when searching for my Japanese Extended Essay I collected informations from both English and Japanese sources which allowed me to deepen and strengthen my arguments.
I strongly believe that multilingualism allows you to interact with various cultures and people from different cultures, and more importantly, understand and accept each other’s difference, and this is crucial in being involved in the global community and intercultural communication.