Language Diversity

Freshman learns languages for fun


Natalie Eljamal, Staff Writer

In the United States it is not that common to run into someone who speaks more than one language, let alone seven. Freshman Sania Khan moved here about four years ago from Pakistan, already speaking English, Urdu, Pashto, Saraiki, Punjabi, Arabic and Hindko.

Moving to United States has had a huge impact on her life, one of which being changing the language she spoke and the way that she thought. When Khan first moved here, she knew she had to expand her English vocabulary, and ended up also learning more languages in her spare time.

In the move to the U.S., Khan also brought her knowledge along. At a young age of 14, she still strives to expand her grasp of languages and keep on learning more. In Pakistan, Khan learned Pashto and Urdu mainly because those were the national languages. When she was in kindergarten she was taught English by her teachers and as she got older, she started learning other languages as a hobby, such as Saraiki and Punjabi.

“I think that knowing different languages is important because acquiring more languages improves my memory and increases my attention span,” Khan said. “The process of learning more languages helps exercise my brain, challenges me to concentrate and boosts my problem-solving skills.”

Coming to Omaha was a big change in her life. Khan was used to being around a mixture of different people, coming from different places. Being at Millard West not the same because there isn’t that much diversity.

“In my opinion, cultural diversity is a huge issue at Millard West,” Khan said. “I feel like diversity is essential to understand the perspective of different people and get to know them. Plus, it will help students understand the topic of race and discrimination a little better.”

Everyday Khan works in her classes in order to keep good grades. She is involved in many activities. Some of which include the debate team, Spanish Club, HOSA, Art Club and more.

“She is a really hard worker, everyday she comes to Debate practice you can tell she is really eager to learn,” sophomore Amara Bryant said. “She is always asking questions to expand her knowledge on the topic, which is immigration this year. She is also super sweet to everyone on the team.”

Khan incorporates her education of people into almost everything she does to make people feel welcomed and to always make friends. The whole reason she learned English back in Pakistan was to understand foreigners so she could connect with them and make them feel included in their country.

“Sania knows a lot of things, one of which is she knows how to speak in different languages which is really cool,” senior Ben Wheeler said. “I think it makes her very open and every once in a while, she’ll teach us a word or two in a different language.”

Keeping the languages straight is not generally an issue for Khan. With enough practice and fluency, she’s learned to separate the languages in her thoughts.

“Sometimes it is hard to keep the languages straight in my head,” Khan said. “At home we could be talking and then just switch the language we are talking in, it just kinda depends on the mood at home.”

Khan’s knowledge and background information equips her to experience so many different things. With set morals and goals, she goes through life, paving a path for her success. The ability to speak and understand these languages shows her dedication to learning and will continue to follow her.