Speaking 4 Languages

Mika Bekkerman '16
Being able to speak multiple languages has always been valued in my family. I was always told that it would get me far in life.
I remember being told I would be able to travel around the world, immerse myself in different cultures, and experience life through a variety of different perspectives. Growing up in a family of immigrants from Ukraine, all I knew was Russian. I read, wrote, spoke, and thought in Russian. Not long after, I was forced to learn English. English surrounded me; there was no way to avoid it. But in addition to not knowing English, my school offered a mandatory Spanish class. Therefore, I was learning Spanish and English more or less at the same, while freely speaking Russian at home. English quickly pulled ahead. I continued the Spanish class but it just wasn’t comparable to my English anymore. As I grew up, everything was centered around English. It got to a point where I was losing my Russian as well. Thank goodness for my grandmother, she did not let that happen. I was the future and she wanted her great-grandchildren to speak Russian. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Soon enough, I was a freshman at JCHS. I focused all my language learning capabilities on Hebrew.

As a current sophomore, I decided that I wasn’t satisfied. I needed to keep my Russian, my Spanish, my English, and now my Hebrew. I am far from fluent in both Spanish and Hebrew, but I will keep working towards changing that. I want to speak four languages. I want to understand and be understood, as well as value my family’s wishes. 
Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
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The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.