Sisters in Culture
Two students educate PV about world languages
October 18, 2018
(Editor’s Note: The World Cultures Club was started already. A previous version of this article previously stated that Estefania Chinchilla and Natalia Chinchilla created the club.)
Ever since they were in middle school, Pascack Valley junior Estefania Chinchilla and sophomore Natalia Chinchilla have both been interested in learning about other cultures and languages. Since then, they have become invested in educating their fellow PV students and teachers about the various ethnicities and cultures around the globe by starting the World Cultures Club.
The World Cultures Club initially began when the Spanish club and Italian club joined forces to create one club to educate students about various lifestyles, so that they could become more culturally aware about the world around them. Estefania Chinchilla and Natalia Chinchilla apply their knowledge of other ethnicities and cultures to the club activities.
The World Cultures Club was started in 2017 by the two students in order to educate students about various lifestyles that they have learned or are planning on picking up to make PV culturally aware about the world around them.
Every Wednesday during lunch, the club and their advisors and world language teachers, Mrs. Dorely Leal and Ms. Francesca Silvano, meet in Room 143 to discuss traditions, cuisines, dances, and languages about different cultures.
This year, Estefania Chinchilla, the president of the club, and Natalia Chinchilla, the vice president, along with other officers, plan on teaching a wide range of cultures and traditions such as Hispanic, Italian, Scandinavian, French, Norwegian, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African.
Despite having a hispanic background, Estefania Chinchilla’s and Natalia Chinchilla’s dedication to learning about different cultures and ethnicities did not really begin until they entered middle school. Estefania Chinchilla began learning French around eighth grade, and she has even has housed French students in her home. During her freshman year, she hosted a French student, Laura, from Lycée Amiral de Grasse, a high school in southern France, and sophomore year, she had a family friend staying in her home, Édouard, from Locon, a town in northern France.
“It [hosting a French student] was a great first experience since she was only a year older than me and we bonded over learning languages immediately,” Estefania Chinchilla said. “She’s fluent in English so that was also a plus.”
Currently, Estefania Chinchilla still remains close friends with both French students, and she is fluent in English, French, and Spanish; however, she is also learning Portuguese, Korean, and Italian. She plans on using these languages in the future so that she can become an interpreter for the United Nations.
“I decided that I was so interested in learning these languages, and it wasn’t as hard as people would say it would be,” Estefania Chinchilla said. “I decided that maybe I could take this up as a hobby, and it was really just something I loved.”
Meanwhile, Natalia Chinchilla became a little more reluctant about learning languages growing up.
“I kind of wished I forced myself to learn a little more [languages],” Natalia Chinchilla said. “I did see the wrong in [not learning more languages], so I wish I pushed my younger self in learning more languages because with languages comes communication. With communication, you can build friendships and build a career off of that.”
When Natalia Chinchilla entered middle school, she realized the importance of being more culturally aware and learning other languages, especially when she began taking Italian in the seventh grade. Now, she can speak English, Spanish, and Italian, and she is also learning Norwegian, and Portuguese. In the future, she is planning to learn German, Arabic, or Polish, and she hopes to apply these languages to become an immigration lawyer.
“This club will allow people to see what is out there and what is being celebrated, and what are actually apart of people’s lives,” Natalia Chinchilla said. “This club is going to bring more awareness to the fact that everyone’s connected because we live in a society where humans are humans who all make mistakes and have different beliefs.”