Bain’s mother’s hometown, Roccella Jonica. (Photo Credit: Martina Bain/Used with permission )
Bain’s mother’s hometown, Roccella Jonica.

Photo Credit: Martina Bain/Used with permission

Martina Bain (’23) highlights benefits of being bilingual

September 2, 2021

In a world full of unique cultures, traditions, and languages – staying connected to your heritage is both meaningful and beneficial. Martina Bain (‘23), growing up speaking Italian, embraces this idea by staying connected to her family’s heritage through language. 

Martina Bain (’23) happy to be outside in the courtyard. (Photo Credit: Ellie Martinez/Achona Online)

Bain’s mother immigrated from Italy as a young adult to live in America. As a result, Bain was raised speaking Italian in her family home.

“I speak Italian because my mom immigrated from Italy to America alone as a young adult and wanted to raise me with the ability to communicate with all of our family in Italy. She has a love for foreign languages and thinks they are super important to know, so Italian was my first language.”

 Bain’s fluency in Italian allows her to communicate with her family in Italy consistently. Through language, she stays connected to her ancestry and unique traditions in Italy. Her connection to Italian culture allows her to use her bilingualism to fully engage in the familial traditions she loves most. For Bain, speaking Italian has instilled in her a desire to maintain her connections to Italy through her relationships and customs. 

“Speaking Italian is so useful when traveling to Italy and chatting with Italian family and friends. I feel so blessed to know Italian because it helps me feel more included in my family’s culture and keep our traditions alive… My Italian family owned a bakery so making Italian treats is always fun with my mom. We especially cook and bake many special desserts during the holidays.”

Being a multilingual student is extremely beneficial in today’s world. In fact, more than half of the world speaks one or more languages. However, only 20% of Americans are bilingual, despite the significant benefits of bilingualism in the current world. Being bilingual allows for individuals to interact with new cultures and experiences, developing their worldview on a wider scale. For Bain, speaking Italian is most beneficial in communicating with her family and maintaining meaningful relationships with her family far from home. Additionally, her language supports her in branching out to other languages, too. 

Percentage of bilingual Americans in comparison to bilingual Europeans. (Photo Credit: Ellie Martinez/Achona Online/Canva)

“Speaking another language is the most beneficial when I communicate with my family overseas because I can form a bond with them despite being from different countries… Speaking Italian has definitely given me an appreciation for languages. I love learning about other languages and cultures and I hope to become fluent in Spanish.”

Speaking Italian inspires Bain to continue strengthening her language abilities by seeking new languages to understand.  

“I have so many beautiful memories in Italian and I hope to carry on my heritage and teach my future children how to speak it too.” 

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