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It is worth considering the opportunities languages bring.

Where Can Languages Take You?

Jack Jamieson
Jack Jamieson (1 post) Spanish and French Teacher View Profile

The International School of Moscow places great value on languages, and with many of our students already speaking multiple languages, it is worth considering the opportunities this brings.

When I started secondary school in Scotland, not even a crystal ball could have told me that I would live in an indigenous community in Central America. Fast forward a decade and post-university, where I studied business and languages, I embarked on a 9-month volunteering programme in the mountains of northern Nicaragua. The aim of the project was to teach business skills to young people with ambitions of being entrepreneurs, with the end goal of establishing and seed funding sustainable enterprises within the community.

 The doors that languages open are endless and immensely rewarding.

And now, yes, I am proud of the fact that there are still eleven businesses going to this day, including apiculture (beekeeping) and a local coffee roaster, but it is the connections I made during my time there that I hold so dearly. Doña María, who hosted me for the entirety of my time there, remarked, “you are like the son I never had”, and the story of her 2-year-old niece, for whom I bought new, glittery boots after hers broke, who then refused to take them off as she went to bed as they were so ‘shiny’ still makes me smile. These are two such reminders that my experience there was fuelled by the fact that I spoke their language and thus was treated as part of the family.

2-year-old niece, for whom I bought new, glittery boots after hers broke.

Whilst I was pleased to be reacquainted with hot water and electricity as I left Nicaragua, the experience was a formative and unforgettable one. I take these stories into the classroom and use them to inspire my students and open their eyes to the fact that, although the title question may seem simple at face value, the doors that languages open are endless and immensely rewarding.