The Importance of Multilingualism and Travel in Our Familia

 “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” ~ Augustinus 
As a multicultural familia, multilingualism and travel go very much hand in hand since the target language that I'm teaching our child is Spanish, hence being the minority.

Therefore, my mother who lives in Puerto Rico, and I made an agreement to visit each other every year.  Meaning one year she'd travel to the U.S.A., the other year we'd travel to Puerto Rico. Traveling was our way of preserving the family ties, as well as keeping the culture and language alive especially for our child. During Abuela's visits she'd speak to our child in Spanish, and when we traveled to Puerto Rico he would be directly exposed to the target language because all of the familia would speak in Spanish. Though, I do admit there have been times where my family has spoken to our son in English, instead of Spanish. I am to blame since I started our son's language immersion a little later on. You can read about my initial struggle here, and about his milestones, and my regrets here.

Nevertheless, I'm thankful for la familia's (Abuela, titi, tío, & primos) frequent travels to the U.S.A. La familia extendida and our baby's travels have given him some exposure to  his target language.

First trip ever by plane! November 2008
He's 4 yrs. old, and he's traveled more times in his short little lifetime than me at his age! By plane he has traveled to: New York, November 2008; Puerto Rico, January, July & December 2009; Puerto Rico, November 2010; New York, March 2011 and Louisiana, December 2011.

By car on family road trips (too many times to list the dates):  Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and within our state of South Carolina.

This summer we're truly looking forward to an overdue visit to Puerto Rico (it's been 2 1/2 years since our last visit).  This trip will be different from any other, because this time our son will be fully engaged in a  two week full Spanish immersion trip.  He will be able to express himself in a language that until the other day I thought he would never learn. The language he has come to love, enjoy and speak: Spanish!

Although our son is too young to remember his many travels or the places that he's visited, these memories have already been ingrained in his little mind. The language exposure no matter how much or how little will  be forever present.

In the words of  Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”  I am so truly happy that I took the first step towards my son's language learning, and he is on his way to a lifetime journey of multilingualism opportunities. 

This post has been written for inclusion in the Multilingual Carnival's theme "Multilingualism and Travel" hosted by All Done Monkey.