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  • Writer's pictureHLE Network

Why studying the heritage language should be a "no-brainer"

December 11, 2023

During a panel of the U.S. Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools' 10th annual conference in October 2023, a student alumn of the ABRACE Portuguese heritage language program in the Washington D.C. area was asked, "Do you recommend studying your heritage language?" His response? "That is a no-brainer!"

There is so much to say about my experience with heritage language because it is such a large part of my identity . . . the impact that ABRACE has had on me is something that is immeasurable.

-Alumn from ABRACE Portuguese heritage language program in the U.S.

This student explained that his Brazilian heritage is a major part of his identity, even though he has never lived in Brazil. He gave examples of how his high school and university experience have been positively affected by his involvement in heritage language education, including being the recipient of a global citizenship award. He noted that his knowledge of Brazilian language and culture has enabled him to already network with Brazilian businesses, qualifying him well for an internationally-oriented career in the future. His testimony was preceded by similar stories from students who had studied Bulgarian and German as heritage languages.

For people who are involved in supporting and advocating for the education of multilingual students, hearing testimony from former students like this is an invaluable source of inspiration and motivation. The panel host reacted to the student testimonies: "This is what we live for, my heart is just full!"

Hear the testimony from the American-Brazilian student at minute 31:52

All of the videos from the U.S. conference are now available for viewing online. Many thanks to the team in the U.S. for making their conference hybrid and for putting the videos online. This way, HL professionals around the world can benefit from the knowledge and experience shared at this rich event.


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