It’s Friday night. School is finally over for the week. The first thing you do when you get home is hop on your couch and open Netflix. The problem? There’s nothing (you want) to watch. However, as you angrily mutter this to yourself, you’re turning a blind eye to all the international shows you pass as you scroll down the list of options in front of you.
International programs are overlooked just because they are from an unfamiliar area of the world with an unfamiliar language, but these programs have many benefits to watching them, such as learning a new language and experiencing a new culture, all from the comfort of your home.
On top of the more educational benefits, international media provides different and sometimes unconventional entertainment. “International TV shows open you up to a new spectrum of genres. While the U.S. has certain, familiar styles and themes, other countries have their own ideas, so when you see their shows you get to learn about other countries as well,” junior Ebin Mathew said.
For many who grow up in the United States while their family primarily originates from a separate part of the globe, it’s difficult to remain connected to their familial culture. Additionally, many of these people have families that speak another language. If the person is second or third generation American, they’re less likely to speak their family’s original language.
However, international TV shows provide access to these people to stay in touch with their roots. “Watching TV in that language [Malayalam] is how I learned the language faster than just my parents teaching it [to me]. I’m able to understand what my family members are saying, and it helped me connect with them on a deeper language basis,” Mathew said.
While it can be intimidating to watch a show in a completely different language that you don’t understand, that’s part of the allure. “It’s always good to watch international shows because you learn culture, you hear different accents and languages and you learn to appreciate things that are outside of your own world,” AP Spanish and Spanish III Honors teacher Mrs. Judy Ramos said.
Personally, I began watching international shows last year. I’d previously never touched one since I didn’t think they would be as high quality as American shows (yes, I know, egocentrism) and I didn’t think I could enjoy it without perfectly speaking the language. However, I clicked on the show “Las Chicas del Cable,” which translates into “Cable Girls,” and was instantly enthralled.
It’s now one of my favorite shows and I’ve begun branching out into different international shows and movies since I now know language should not be a barrier for enjoyment. In addition to that, it’s helped me learn Spanish, which in turn helped me communicate with my Cuban family with more ease, and feel more comfortable viewing other Spanish shows I was originally not interested in.
Do yourself a favor and take that “risk.” See the rewarding benefits that arise out of stepping out of your comfort zone and appreciating untraditional media.