What comes to your mind when you think of language? Do you instantly think of a particular people group? Do you have specific beliefs about that people group? Do your thoughts linger on frustrations you've had where communication was limited due to language barriers? Do you smile as your mind remembers joyful experiences you've had in countries other than your own where the beauty of the culture was more fulfilling than the limits of misunderstood words?
We are a world that communicates through language. Not just languages that originate from a specific country, but also languages of culture- behaviors, ideas and beliefs that you may identify with. The language of "love," the language of "the streets," the language of "youth." Although we understand that based on your beliefs, your heritage, your faith, or country of origin that there is diversity in language, as a society, we often have prejudice and judgements of those who speak a language other than our own.
As a rising 10th grader, I feel priveledged to go to a school that embraces diversity and seeks to increase my knowledge and understanding of the world through language immersion and cultural studies. As an African-American young women studying Mandarin, I see first hand, ,the cultural misconceptions that the African-American and Asian communities have of one another and I am grateful for the opportunity to understand and also to be understood through my language immersion experiences.
On August 16th, I will be participating in a 2 1/2 week trip to China where I will have the opportunity to participate in a community service project, live with a host family and experience cities and villages in China. Not only will this experience greatly improve my Mandarin (I pray!) but more importantly, it will open the eyes of my hosts' and open my eyes to the beauty and the diversity of our great cultures. By the end of my trip, I plan to come back knowing and understanding the Chinese culture. I want to accomplish this by trying foods that I may not be familiar with and learning everyday life style during my stay with my host family. In addition, I plan to come back speaking the language of unity through diversity and I am grateful for your support in helping me achieve this.