As a bilingual veterinary student, I use my brain to process information in Spanish and English every day. I enjoy having the opportunity to learn and read about veterinary medicine in two languages. As a non-native English speaker, I would say I can translate almost 90% of what I learned in vet school to my native language and that helps me to retain information faster.
In the last years, I have been fascinated with how the bilingual brain works and the benefits of being bilingual. I have read articles and watched videos from TED Talks to Brain Games to learn more. It always amazes how powerful our brain is and the importance of the left side of our brain. We all know our brain has two hemispheres, left side is analytical and logical whereas the right-side is artistic and emotional. In the left side, we process all the information in other languages. According to scientists from Johns Hopkins University, they explained that the Wernicke’s area is our sound detector responsible for language comprehension and the Broca area produces our speech abilities; studies has shown it is more developed in bilingual people. Other interesting region in the brain is the Caudated nucleus that allow us to switch back and forth between languages. Through my vet school journey, I have focused on improving my writing skills which is an active way of learning. I have noticed that passive ways of learning another language (listening and reading) are so much easier than active ways. But after all, the most important thing is to keep practicing and be patient.
For me, learning a second language was challenging but I knew it would open the doors to many opportunities…Today I want to motivate other veterinary students to learn a new language, not only to get more opportunities or a higher salary as a veterinary professional but also to able to connect with more people around the world. I think it’s never too late to learn a second language, we all can learn it if we really want to! It might take you a few months or years, but you will be a surprise of all the benefits of being bilingual bring to your health, career, and self-esteem.