The Barriers and Bridges of Language

Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.


Pomelo, pamplemousse, trai buoi, grapefruit - Spanish, French, Vietnamese, and English. My ability to connect languages has enhanced my understanding of every subject I learn and has led me to cherish language as a bridge between different cultures and nations. I no longer view different languages as an unnecessary barrier to my comprehension. I am bilingual, and I have become accustomed to mentally translating information between different languages to ensure that I have grasped new concepts.

However, I grew increasingly aware of translations between languages, especially when I began to take language classes during my middle school and high school years. When I first took French, I realized that going through multiple translations helped me with comprehending a new language. I opted to convert French into Vietnamese and Vietnamese into English. When I took Spanish classes in high school, I utilized this same language conversion process. This technique assisted me with my academics, and it also helped me treasure the connection and beauty that language encompasses. However, I often need to monitor every word that I utter aloud, or I will accidentally speak in Spanish to my Vietnamese parents. Worse yet, I will talk in...

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