The Power of a New Language

The photo contains the sentence "The Power of a New Language" in the middle, and the word "Hello" in different languages.

When I turned 6, I did not consider myself a kid anymore . Ever since, I saw the world from a different angle. I started dedicating 2 hours per day to my English story book collection. It was called “The Wild Thornberry”.

I used to spend hours pinned to my desk reading and writing. I was fascinated by the accent and the sound of the letters of the new language I was learning; English, it was.

The biggest question I was constantly asked is “ Are you crazy adding extra study hours to your schedule?” My answer was, “ I don’t think I can be more reasonable.”

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” The quote is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. And yes, I was looking to understand my own language through my first foreign language.

There are 3 Things foreign languages helped me do:

1- Unleashing a unique personality:

When I speak in English I tend to be more open-minded, less serious and more easy-going. However, using Arabic narrows my speaking and makes me want to smile less to strangers or approach new people.

2- Developing a sense of connection with international cultures and histories:

When I decided to learn German I looked up Germany on the map, read about its people and digged into their history. I learned about their heritage and ancient stories. I was amazed of how honest and committed they are to their words.

3- Increasingly feeding my brain with knowledge and science:

My native language is Arabic. This means that the number of books, publications and research papers remains limited if I only read in my mother tongue.

Learning English from an early age gave me the power of understanding the world on a deeper level.

I can’t imagine myself in the position I’m at right now, without having had the courage to stick to my desk when I was younger. I can’t count the amount of chances I would have missed if I wouldn’t have had a passion for a foreign language. And luckily, I wasn’t living in a time of crisis and I had many options - which never included dropping out of school.

According to UNICEF 400,000 children are at risk of dropping out of school as a result of conflict, violence and displacement in Syria. Not to mention the 2 million Syrian kids who were not be able to return to school already in 2015. Therefore, I strongly believe that I should take action by calling on the fortunate to take responsibilities and contribute to education.

I invested in my past to be the person that I am now. Now I need your support to invest in the present for their future.

I aspire to see a world where bilingualism is a simple right, not a privilege. Only then we will be able to invest in every human being to solve climate change, end violence against women, create peace and end war. Simply because people will find an effective way for authentic communication.

Syrian Arab Republic