Multilingualism: Portuguese and English

Throughout my life, I have lived in six countries: Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, and Japan. Along the way, I have learned Portuguese, English and currently Japanese. When I was seven, I moved to Brazil, it was the first time in my life where I was living in a non-Spanish-speaking country. I remember being scared of moving because I did not know how to speak Portuguese. The thought of not being able to communicate or simply express myself was intimidating; I had to learn the language to socialize and attend school.  However, Spanish and Portuguese come from the same language family (Romance), both languages share grammatical similarities and intonation. Understanding the similarities between the two languages made me feel less intimidated and determined to learn Portuguese. As time passed by I was able to fully learn Portuguese. Sadly, after living in Brazil for two and a half years my family and I had to move to Venezuela. Having the opportunity to learn Portuguese made me fall in love with the country and the culture. Being able to communicate with the locals and build new friendships made me realize the advantage of learning a new language.

Moreover, I learned English when I moved to Venezuela. I used to attend an international school where speaking English was a requirement. Throughout my life I had only attended German-speaking schools, meaning that I did not know how to speak English. Once again, I felt intimated and scared since I was moving to a new country and I had to learn another language. In comparison to learning Portuguese, English was more challenging. Furthermore, in eight months, I learned English! I worked very hard to understand and speak the language since all my classes were taught in English. Determination and patience were the two skills I worked and learned throughout the process of learning the new language.

In addition, I am currently learning Japanese. I can say without a doubt Japanese has been the hardest language I’ve had to learn in my life. Learning three different alphabets has been challenging but also exciting. Personally, I love learning new languages since I get a deeper understanding of the country’s culture and history. I am very thankful for all the opportunities I have been given to learn new languages. Getting out of my comfort zone has been challenging but rewarding.

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