The Beauty of Language | My Family Travels

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who loved to travel the world. The people, the food, the places, they all mattered to her. She would travel the world with her family if she could. One time, about 3 years ago, she and her family went on a Carnival Cruise. The boat was enormous and she loved to explore it every day. While on this vacation, they were to stop at three islands: St. Thomas, San Juan, and St. Martin. While she had galloped and frolicked, and splashed with joy at every stop, the last island was the most important to her.

â–º  Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

This little girl, was truly bilingual and could speak both English and French. She had never met anyone before who could speak both languages and was truly amazed the island was actually half owned by the French people. As she got off the boat, she saw a sign; it said “Bienvenue”, which in French means welcome. She was amazed and filled up with joy at the thought of being able to use the language she loved so dearly. As she traveled the island with her family, she saw many more signs; for food, for directions and much more. Her family unfortunately could not speak her language, so they relied on her for help. She showed them the food and the people, they absorbed it all and she felt like the center of the world to them. The whole day was filled with excitement and new experiences for the little girl and her family. She felt as though she never wanted to leave the beautiful island. As the sun began to set and the day came to an end, she walked back to the boat with a heavy heart, knowing that she may never return again. Her family questioned her sadness as they could not understand. She said, “For the very first time, in my entire life, this island, these people, have given me the piece of my heart that I always knew was missing”.

My name is Amanda Sledz and I am the girl you just read about in the story above.  Three years ago I went on a cruise vacation with my family to 3 different islands. This was not my first cruise, but like everyone before, it was an experience to remember.  At the time of the cruise I was on my 2nd year of French in middle school. I had already been to St. Martin but my family and I only visited the Dutch half of the island. Going back there, I had no idea we would be going to the French side this time. The experience will last me a life time. The French side was breath-taking and truly “Incroyable”!! My family reveled at my knowledge and I loved sharing my passion with them. Visiting this island helped me realize one of my two passions: language. I plan to attend college to major in Biology and French, so that I can attend medical school in the future. This trip made me realize my long term goal: to become a doctor for “Médecins sans frontières” (Doctors without Borders). Hopefully someday, I can once again share my passion with some more people. Until then, at least my heart is a little bit fuller.

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