Growing up as bilingual


Junior Pahal Mehra with her family ready for a Diwali party. Courtesy of Diksha Mehra.

Quincy Lezondra, Staff Reporter

“Adios! Que tenga un buen dia!” North senior student Angelina Vera says to her mother every day before going to school. Once she leaves the comfort of her home, she enters a new environment surrounded by a different language. 

North may seem like a population of English speakers, but behind the scenes, it is truly diverse in language. From English to Telugu, a language spoken in Southern India, North students have many ways to communicate at home.

“Lithuanian was my first language, and I learned English when I started school in kindergarten,” junior Greta Sakutis said. 

 Having the ability to communicate in their first language gives students the opportunity to connect with distant families, their culture and other students who happen to share the same language.

“I feel as though being bilingual helps kids connect back to their roots and family,” junior Mahitha Pamulapati said.  “It’s a way to bond even though it may not seem like it.”

Students can take advantage of their ability to speak in a different language other than English and use it in their everyday life.

Studies have shown that “bilingual students usually have stronger working memories and attention spans.” This is beneficial for students academically and behaviorally in a classroom environment.

With this advantage they can also help others around them in non-academic settings. In public, they can help people communicate when there might be a language barrier. 

“I was at work, and I was speaking to a lady in Spanish because she needed help and just came to America,” Vera said.

 Growing up learning a completely new language can be a struggle for students. Vera felt it was necessary to  learn to lose her accent.

“I got made fun of, so I tried my best to speak with an American accent,” Vera said. “But, I get it because they just wanted other people to better understand me when speaking English.”

Overall, having the ability to understand and communicate in more than one language has its benefits for students.

“Growing up in a bilingual household has allowed me to see the genuine differences between language and culture,” Deb said.