Why Bilinguals are Smarter

Published: 2018-06-27 01:30:02
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Wesleyan University
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Essay
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Me as a bilingual children

I derive a lot of pleasure in the fact that I am born to an American father and a French mother. I have lived in America since birth and, by default, English is my first language. When I was sixteen, I took an interest in learning to speak a second language and what better choice could I have made than to learn French. My mother was more than happy to teach me the basics to such a point where I became a fluent speaker of the French language. Despite the fact that I have gone to France once or twice in my life, I still consider myself to be bilingual because I can express myself, speech-wise, with no restraint.

For my college application, I found a particular school in France. I made a written request in English and was keen on mentioning my adept knowledge of the French language. One morning, weeks after I had submitted my application to this particular college, I was awakened by the sweet aroma of baking corn bread. It was a traditional indication of good news in our household. Therefore, I merrily hopped down the stairs, ready for a celebration and true to my guts, a letter detailing the need to go over for an interview awaited me. My folks were elated, and so was I. I felt more than ready to fly out to France at that instant since I had met all the requirements which were stated in that letter. 

Months later, I went to France, as hopeful as the break of day. Somewhere in my heart of hearts, I knew that I would ace the interview. To be certain, I went over the interviewer’s requirements. While I was making a checklist, something caught my attention. A wave of fear and anxiety suddenly swept over me as it hit me that I had overlooked one of the instructions and it seemed to be a paramount requirement. Needless to say, I took a moment to self-reflect and decided to cross the bridge when I got there. Meanwhile, all was right with the world. The university was easy to locate. Its perimeter wall was lined with well-spaced pine trees and the ground covered with dewy ferns, moss, and well-manicured grass. I noticed that I was not the only one who had made it. Three girls and four boys were already seated in a large lobby with a balcony above and a massive chandelier whose presence one could not escape. I have an eye for detail, so I could not miss the yellow pine panelling and the few pieces of furniture that were made of tree branches. Indeed, the lobby was a sight for sore eyes. While saying hello to my fellow interviewees, I wittily decided to exercise my French. I made friends with Adelaide and Dace who seemed very enthusiastic about studying in that particular college. It was a reassurance that I, too, had chosen the right institution.

Own bilingual education

In my opinion, the interview was a piece of cake, and I was as happy as a clam upon notification that it was time for the final leg. We all assembled in the conference hall where we were spaced out as though awaiting an examination. To my left was Adelaide and immediately behind me was Dace. We exchanged knowing glances as though to reassure each other that all would be well. One of the panelists handed out sheets of paper to each one of us. On it, were the instructions that required us to demonstrate an ability that gave us an edge over the others. That was easy. The tricky part was that the demonstration was to be done in writing; not in English, but in French. That was the longest fifteen minutes of my life. Regardless of the fact that I am bilingual, I do not have the expertise of putting my French in writing. I learnt it orally, and  up until then, I had never taken an interest in learning how to express myself in writing. That was my day of reckoning. I knew that my entry into that college depended on that sheet of paper and it dawned on me that a golden opportunity was about to slip through my fingers. I remembered the instructions that I had read that morning and tears welled up my eyes. One look at Adelaide and Dace, who were French, revealed that the task was a piece of cake. I was doomed.

Since I was not going down without a fight, I made the write-up in English. Upon submission, one of the interviewers took notice and sought answers. I then got the chance to demystify the myth that all bilinguals can effortlessly speak, read, and write both languages. Unfortunately, I lost the opportunity to study in that college. However, I resolved to attend French classes, and I can now proficiently and effortlessly read, write, and speak perfect French. The bright side is that I got a letter asking me to accept an offer to pursue my master’s degree in that college. I plan to do exactly that.

sheldon

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