Meet Shahidah Foster, a self-proclaimed army brat and language enthusiast. A native New Yorker, Shahidah grew up Bushwick, Brooklyn surrounded by Spanish speakers. In Junior High, she elected to take up French and later moved with her mother to Germany when she was 13. Not wanting to be in Germany or learn the language, she continued to study French. Later, Shahidah developed an interest in learning German and also grew to love the country so much that she chose to continue to live there when her mother was transferred back to the States.
Her experience as an expat and polyglot and the rebranding of a blog for plus-sized women is what inspired her to create her current platform, Black Girls Learn Languages.
She talks about hearing the comments “black girls don’t learn languages” and “Americans don’t speak other languages” on different occasions when people discovered that she is multi-lingual. She also experienced being overlooked as the German-speaker in the room while working for a German company abroad. All these experiences inspired her to start her blog, encouraging other African-American women to learn languages and creating a space to support and celebrate them
Listen in as Shahidah shares her love for Germany, the differences in racial tensions there and in the US, being marveled at as a Black person overseas, and so much more.
And to get started on your own language journey, check out the following recommendations:
Shahidah stresses the importance of choosing a language that you’re passionate about, having a good study plan, an excellent language dictionary, and consuming the media (books, movies, tv, music) available in your chosen language.
TODAY’S FEATURED ARTIST:
Artist: Lea Anderson
Song: Tell Me, Yes!