by Kathleen Boehl (Loyola College)
EVER SINCE MIDDLE SCHOOL I have struggled to find the motivation to study a foreign language. I just thought it wasn’t for me and that there was no real reason why I would need to know any language other than English unless I was going into a profession that demanded me to be bilingual. I have studied Spanish for several years but the motivation to really learn and get engaged just wasn’t there. Not until I traveled abroad. When I got to Europe my outlook on learning another language drastically changed. Not only do a lot of Europeans speak English but many are fluent in more than two languages. I was shocked to come to know so many Europeans that knew my language. I felt less educated and almost dumb when I heard Italians my age speaking fluent English when I could barely form sentences in another language. Since being in Italy I truly have found my motivation to learn another language.

There really is so much opportunity for people that can communicate in other languages. If it weren’t for the English speaking Italians I would not have gotten to know the locals here as well as I have or engaged in the great conversations about our different cultures. What I have experienced here in Italy is almost like a reality check. I have been shown how lazy Americans like myself have been when it comes to expanding our language abilities. I see how much potential there is for me to learn a new language and be able to communicate with others the next time I go abroad.