Tag Archives: networking

The Benefits of Bilingualism

By Nikhita Datar

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

The power of language is undebatable – it has the ability to break down barriers and connect people from different parts of the globe. Meeting someone who can speak the same language as you can be comforting as there is already an established level of familiarity with the person, and the more languages you know, the more common this experience is. Did you know that beyond communicating with more people, knowing multiple languages also has a lot of personal and scientific benefits as well? 

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

According to an opinion piece in The New York Times by Yudhijit Bhattacharjeee titled ‘Why Bilinguals Are Smarter,’ “Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.” So being bilingual doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the next Albert Einstein (there are a lot of bilinguals in the world, but only one Einstein), but scientists and research have demonstrated that there is a connection between increased cognitive abilities and those who are able to speak more than one language. 

I was always aware that I was able to communicate with many people differently – I knew I would talk to my friends at school differently (in a different language) than I would my grandparents, but I never thought anything of it. I primarily speak English and Kannada (a language spoken predominantly by the people of Karnataka in the southwestern region of India), and I can also speak some Hindi, Marathi, Spanish, and Korean. The majority of the languages I know I picked up from my grandparents and parents from a young age, so I learned them much faster. Knowing multiple languages has been a benefit to me because it has allowed me the opportunity to connect with a greater number of people, especially extended family that live abroad who I would have otherwise had difficulty getting to know. I can understand a greater amount of people, and it allows me to see humanity in a different and more nuanced way. 

Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

The Wall Street Journal wrote, “Bilingualism calls on capacities to learn the two languages, keep the sounds straight, switch deftly between them and so on.” Ideally as a bilingual you should be able to switch between the two languages you speak comfortably. For me, as much as I can switch back and forth as needed, the challenge lies in finding words that have a similar meaning in another language. Often times, my brain gets stuck on a niche word in one language that seems like it can’t be translated into the other language. The phrase, “I don’t know what the translation of that in English is,” is something I’m a little too familiar with. In these moments, I don’t exactly feel the improved cognitive function that is supposed to come with knowing multiple languages. 

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The Art of People

By Dimitris Tzoytzoyrakos

Though he probably wasn’t the first to think so, filmmaker Woody Allen is known to have said “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” Others since have gone on to say “90% of success is just showing up” and other variations of the same idea.  My brother and I found this out to be true when we created a short film together and submitted it to an LA film festival, even though neither of us had any experience in the field. A couple weeks after doing so, we receive a phone call notifying us that our short was accepted to premiere at the film festival. Being the naive filmmakers we were, we thought getting accepted would get our foot in the door of the film industry but, as it turned out, getting a film to premiere at the festival only played a minor role in our exposure to the industry. Getting “our foot through the door” was actually much simpler than we had ever thought.

The first day at the film festival was absolutely packed. You had to squeeze your way through a tight crowd of strangers, and occasionally a celebrity, just to get a cup of water. Soon enough, my brother and I began to chat with other filmmakers and fill up our contact lists in our phones. Just on the first day, my brother and I made a vast network of connections with very hard working artists who carried the same love and passion for cinema as we did, all while not having seen a single film yet at the festival.

This having just been the first day, we were so eager to see what would become of the rest of the week. Oddly enough, every single day between opening and closing night had a only a minuscule fraction of the attendees show up. This puzzled me at first because the in between days were when all the films were screening. I had thought that the entire point of a film festival was to watch films and network with people whose work you admired and vice versa. It turned out that one didn’t even need to have a film screen at the event, so long as one was present and engaging with the people around them. There were, in fact, many people at the festival who hadn’t worked on any projects; they just came to increase their network.

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