An Interview with Maritere Rodriguez Bellas, An Immigrant, Dual Language Parent, & Acclaimed Author
If you made a decision to raise children with two languages, stick to it. Even when sometimes you want to give it up. Keep reminding yourselves that you are giving your child a gift.
How would you explain to other parents why dual language education is necessary?
I was very young, 17, when I realized the benefits of being bilingual. I had just graduated from high school and was fluent in English and Spanish. I went to college in Europe and met people from all over the world that were fluent in several languages. The children I met, they blew me away! They all spoke four to five languages without skipping a beat. I had learned English at school. These children, they were spoken to in two or three languages at home and then school took charge of the rest. It was amazing to see. And not only I got schooled in languages, but I learned about different cultures, customs and traditions that helped me appreciate my own and respect theirs.
As an immigrant, what were your feelings when DACA was repealed?
Immigrants built this country... Why would you deny young people the opportunity to follow their dreams when in the process that benefits society as a whole? To even consider deportation and separating families, is just wrong!
What's the one piece of advice you would offer to your fellow Bilingual parents?
If you made a decision to raise children with two languages, stick to it. Even when sometimes you want to give it up. Keep reminding yourselves that you are giving your child a gift, the best gift, for their future. Make it fun, not a chore. There are so many great resources today to help their journey! Apps, YouTube Channels, games, books, music, foods, they all can help!
Continue reading to find out how Maritere balances parenting, writing and a dedication to being bilingual...