7th Grade Student Maia W. Wins Essay Contest at New York Bilingual Fair!

News · November 8, 2018

Congratulations to ISB 7th Grader Maia W. on coming in 3rd place in the middle school essay contest hosted by French Morning and Frenchly as part of the New York Bilingual Fair. For this essay, students were asked to answer the question, “How does being bilingual make you different, shape you or define who you are?” Read Maia’s essay below.

"This is my eighth school. My seventh grade year. My sixth year learning French. My fifth year in New York City. My second year with the International Baccalaureate program. And my first time really thinking about what a journey it's been. I started learning French when I moved to Canada. I quickly was enrolled in a French school, surrounded by kids who spoke perfect French. I still mixed up quatre and cinq.

I stayed quite silent for my first year in this new environment. I never raised my hand. I was even scared of the teacher. But second grade was a whole new story. I immediately loved my new French teacher, and when she asked me what I had done that summer, I jumped into a full french monologue, using words I didn't know I knew. That was an amazing year, the first time I felt comfortable speaking this distinct language.  I breezed through my third grade year, until April 2015, when it was time to leave and live in New York. I was excited about this new change in my life. We arrived in the big city, and I was so surprised that I would be resuming third grade - in a French school! My vocabulary continued to grow. I felt so good speaking two languages, so accomplished. I loved traveling to France and speaking French to all the people in the town. French had opened up a new door for me. I could talk with so many new people and learn about new cultures. It almost felt like it freed a small space in my mind. Then I began middle school, and about ten more small spaces opened. My new friends are from all around the world, and I met them using only French.

Sometimes I like to look back and think, what would my life be like without French? The truth is, I don't know, and I never will. But I do know that being bilingual has made my life into an incredible experience I am so lucky to have."