By Isabella Strajanekova and Liam O’Hanlon

Learning a second language is very beneficial in many ways. It can improve your grades in English and enhance your vocabulary in everyday life. It can improve your SAT scores. Learning another language also exercises your brain. Many businesses and jobs currently work with other parts of the world and require that employees speak another language. In order to properly communicate, we must be able to understand. This is when learning another language truly benefits us. North Shore gives their students the opportunity to learn languages other than English and explore other cultures. They do this by having International Week. 

Each year, kids go outside their comfort-zone and take risks at learning a new language. North Shore provides kids with 5 different languages: French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin. International Week is a time where we accentuate the love of other cultures. From different types of food to exciting new music, students explore ethnicities with wonder. International Night is an open event where everyone is welcome. With cultural dress, games, and activities, kids can see how unique each culture is. 

All week kids have been celebrating other cultures. Each day of the week was a new way to explore the languages NS teaches. In the morning students would say the Pledge of Allegiance in the language of the day. For example, Friday was the day we celebrated Spanish, so in the morning students said the pledge in Spanish. Also, students decorated the glass hallway with beautiful drawings they made, such as flags of all the countries. They wrote about how learning another language can help them in life. And to top all of that off, they went to International Night and danced to the music of different cultures. Finally, they ate delicious foods from all around the world. 

Liam’s Heritage 
Growing up in New York with an Irish background can change a person’s opinion on their heritage. For example, my mom grew up in Ireland, but we don’t celebrate any holidays traditionally. My whole family came from Cork, Ireland. Either they moved over to the United States or decided to live on the other half of the world. You tend to realize that the farther away you get from your family, the less of a connection you create between each cousin, uncle, or aunt. On the other hand, you get to have family spread all throughout the world. I’m Irish, but that doesn’t mean I’m not American. I don’t dress up as a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day or stuff myself with loaves of Irish soda bread. I celebrate each holiday and spend time with my family just like everyone else. With family living in Europe and New York, it gives me a better look on how different my heritage is but, at the same time, how similar being American and being Irish can be. 

Isabella’s Heritage 
I am Slovak and Greek. Even though I live in America, I still celebrate the cultures of my heritage. I always eat the food my Greek grandma and my Slovak grandma make. They both always cook foods from where they’re from. My Greek grandma even teaches me how to dance Greek dances sometimes. I can speak Slovak fluently, which allows me to be involved in the culture a lot more, and I am able to communicate fluently with people from Slovakia. However, the best way to get into real culture is to visit the country. Last summer I went to both Greece and Slovakia. I’ve been to Slovakia many times before, but it was my first time in Greece. It was an amazing experience. Celebrating your culture and learning about it is very important. If you can’t go to the country, you can always celebrate your culture here in America…and, of course, at North Shore.