Learning languages creates opportunity

By Morgan Jackson, Features Editor

Last week was National Foreign Language Week. The week celebrates the learning of languages and culture.

Oklahoma Baptist University currently requires all students to complete at least 2 modern foreign language classes. Most students take French or Spanish to fulfill this requirement.

Some students see the requirement of studying a second language to be unnecessary, but that is not the case. Learning a second language has benefits across many areas of life.

“Many students sadly don’t understand the value of knowing another language, and how beneficial it can be,” freshman physics major Nathan Murillo said. “I know many of the conversations I’ve had with students on campus about language classes has gone along the lines of ‘I’m never going to use this. Why do I need to learn it?’”

Dr. Lyda Murillo Wilbur, assistant professor of Spanish, has an answer to that very question.

“Learning a world language such as Spanish, French, or German opens the door for students to look at what is happening in the world, not only as a mere spectator but also as someone who can be a part of that world,” Wilbur said. “Without language acquisition visiting a world country is as if the student is going to a museum where he or she perceives the world from a distance and cannot feel, smell, taste, or move around what he or she sees. The student does not get to fully experience the world or be fully empowered to influence it.”

There are benefits to learning additional languages that reach beyond personal use.

“When I’m speaking to someone who’s native language is one I can speak, it makes communication much easier, and people are that much more willing to talk with you,” Murillo said. “Knowing a second language also brings a unique aspect to job applications and internship applications that employers like to see. I realize that is sometimes thought of as an overused cliché, but I have experienced how much it helps personally. Along with that, knowing a second language makes it significantly easier to pick up a third, fourth, fifth, and beyond.”

Kristin Dodd is a senior multilingual communications major deeply understands the importance of language learning. She can currently speak 4 different languages: English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin.

“I absolutely believe it is important to know more than one language,” Dodd said. “I think Americans often don’t see the need to learn a second language, as we live in a huge country. In Europe, if you drive for ten hours, you can be in a few different countries that all speak different languages, but if you drive for ten hours in the USA, you might never leave Texas.”
The United States is home to a culture that is heavily influenced by various cultures and people of various backgrounds, which makes learning languages other than English very significant and useful.

“Our country as we know it is built on immigrants and we live in an increasingly globalized culture and economy,” Dodd said. “Learning another language is not only practical but opens doors in communicating with that world that surrounds us.”

It is obviously very helpful to know the language that is spoken in the country that you are travelling in.

“Learning a language when travelling is not a necessity, but it is a benefit,” Dodd said. “You get better prices in the markets and are less likely to be cheated by taxi drivers. You learn how to navigate places that are more a part of the everyday life of people around the world. Iconic places like the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, and the Statue of Liberty are popular for a reason, but speaking a local language allows you to see and learn more about the local culture than many tourists never see.

Here on Bison Hill there are many bilingual and multilingual students and faculty.

“I was raised in a Spanish speaking country, the Republic of Panama,” Wilbur said. “At the time less than 14% of Panamanians spoke English. Therefore, my first language is Spanish. My experience learning English has been a journey. I came with my family to the United States in 1981 and I was immersed in a school where English was the only language spoken. Not many people looked like me or spoke Spanish. Back then the world felt different and was seen through a different set of lenses.”

OBU currently offers degrees in Spanish, multilingual communication and global studies, with many different minors to choose from, one of them being TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of a Second Language). This is similar to what is often called ELL or ESL.

Dr. Wilbur went to a school that offered English learning classes.

“I remember I had a kind teacher who took interest in helping me learn English, Mr. Gonzalez,” Wilbur said. “At the time, there were not many books in both languages, and the internet did not exist; therefore, learning American traditions or folktales, was not as easily accessible.”

OBU’s mission statement is: “As a Christian liberal arts university, OBU transforms lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ.”

Learning a second language could prove to be essential to engaging a diverse world. Dr. Wilbur wants to encourage students to seize every learning opportunity they have during their time at OBU.

“Language is a tool,” Wilbur said. “More specifically, this tool can be used as a key to open new doors to new and exciting places all over the United States and the World. There are people groups from all over the world including the United States who are waiting to meet them; new people who also need to know about Jesus!

Wilbur said she wanted to challenge every OBU student to find ways to learn another world language and not to be afraid to listen, speak, read and write.

“All students should take advantage of the language classes offered at OBU and take the time to travel and learn another world language,” Wilbur said.

Colonne: Laissons-nous dirige par les universe du Maestro de l’univers

The tour of the choir was a success, but it was thanks to an agreement between us, the students, and the maestro: He told us what to do and we only obey. So must be our relationship with God, always and every day. In Proverbs 16:20 it is written, “He who is attentive to instruction will find happiness. Blessed is he who trusts in Jehovah.”

Let us learn to be attentive to the greatest maestro who is our God, the maestro of the whole universe.

By Jude Balthazar, Contributing Writer

On est samedi, le 1er avril 2017, et c’est le départ de la Chorale de l’Université en tournée au Texas pour performer dans six villes différentes : cinq églises baptistes et une école secondaire.

Le moment est arrivé de partager notre répertoire ailleurs, et notre retour à l’université est fixé pour jeudi, le 6 avril à 1h00 du matin.

On a performé dans tous les lieux prévus, beaucoup d’âmes sont édifiées et à cœur joie on est retourné à l’université.

Tout a bien commencé et finit bien, grâce à la bonne planification de notre cher musicien et maestro, Dr. Brent Ballweg, surnommé « Dr. B. ».

On n’avait rien à craindre tout au long du parcourt, il nous fallait juste suivre les instructions de notre talentueux maestro. Littéralement nous n’avions aucune raison de nous plaindre : la nourriture était prête quand il le faillait et notre esprit était bien disposé à chanter lors de chaque prestation.

Ce fut un grand succès.

Le succès de cette tournée me pousse à réfléchir d’avantage sur notre relation avec notre Père céleste.

Combien de fois nous arrive-t-il de suivre les instructions de Dieu comme Il le demande ? Combien de fois nous rappelons-nous que Dieu a déjà tout planifié pour nous ? Dieu nous parle à travers Sa parole dans Proverbes 8 :33 et nous dit : « Écoutez l’instruction, pour devenir sages, ne la rejetez pas. » Souvent Il nous arrive de faire ce que nous voulons et non pas la volonté de Dieu.

Dans une interview avec Dr. B autour de la planification de la tournée, il m’a dit : « D’habitude il me faut un an d’avance. Je commence à contacter les églises à propos de leurs disponibilités durant la fin du printemps, et une fois que j’ai leurs confirmations, le reste est beaucoup plus facile à gérer. » Dieu nous a aussi fait savoir dans Jérémie 29 :11 ce qui suit : « Car Je connais les projets que J’ai formés sur vous, dit l’Éternel, projets de paix et non de malheur… » Nous serions épargnés de nombreuses expériences amères seulement en nous rappelant que Dieu a un plan pour nous.

C’est évident que Dr. B. connait le processus qui mènera au succès d’une tournée de la chorale, mais le cher maestro se base aussi de son expérience de planification pour rendre chaque tournée meilleure que la précédente. J’ai aussi eu un moment d’interview avec Dr. James Vernon qui fut le maestro du 43ème Concerto Aria de cette année. Le concert avait été un succès inoubliable, et concernant sa planification il m’a dit : « J’ai été en charge pendant plusieurs années, donc je sais à quoi m’attendre… il me fallait seulement un mois et demi pour être prêt. » Il en est de même pour Dieu, et encore mieux de sa part envers nous. Dans Psaumes 127 : 1, Dieu dit : “Si l’Éternel ne bâtit la maison, ceux qui la bâtissent travaillent en vain…”

Cela signifie que nous devons toujours nous confier en Dieu quoi qu’il en soit. Dieu a son plan pour chacun de nous, nous n’avons qu’à Lui faire confiance.

Comme je l’ai dit, la tournée de la chorale fut une réussite, mais ce fut grâce à un accord entre nous, les étudiants, et le maestro : Il nous disait ce qu’il fallait faire et nous ne faisons qu’obéir.  Ainsi doit être notre relation avec Dieu, toujours et chaque jour.  Dans Proverbes 16 : 20 il est écrit : « Celui qui est attentif à l’instruction trouvera la bonheur.  Heureux celui qui met sa confiance en l’Eternel ! » Apprenons à être attentif au plus grand des maestros qui est notre Dieu, le maestro de tout l’univers.