I received a masters degree in Global Mental Health from the University of Glasgow in 2016. During this course I became aware of the lack of diversity in mental health research and the importance of researching multilingually in order to give a voice to the full breadth of human experience and to adequately inform practice.
I completed a year of my psychology bachelor’s degree through French in Bordeaux. Living and studying through a language of which I did not have a particularly good grasp showed me the difficulties of losing meanings, nuances, and even identity when using a second language. Falling back on English was rarely an option and it opened my eyes to my privilege of having previously always lived with English as the lingua franca.
Coming from Ireland, the Irish language is very much a part of my identity, despite English being my first language and that of the majority of the population. Coming from a place where a second language plays a huge role in the culture and identity of the people has taught me the importance of taking such examples of multilingualism into account during research.
Working as a research assistant on the GCRF ‘Researching Multilingually at Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State’ project allows me the chance to explore these interests and experiences with the team.