Diving Into a New Language
When Lyle Yost competed in the 2015 Junior Pan American Diving Championships in Cuba, he met so many new people.
But he wanted to be able to talk with them.
It sparked a desire to learn a new language, and this past May, he graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish.
"The reason I started to learn Spanish in the first place and to really care about it was to be able to come to these competitions and talk to people. I wanted to make friends and really participate in the incredible cultural moment that is an international diving competition,” Yost said.
Now he’s representing Team USA at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, and he’s putting his Spanish skills to good use while seeing some of those same people he met in Cuba eight years ago.
“Being here is absolutely showing me that it’s worth it. I’ve got friends on the boards here today who I’ve known since I was 15, and I think that’s really special,” Yost said.
Yost is now pursuing a master’s degree in world language education at Ohio State. He wants to become a high school Spanish teacher, and he’s currently student teaching at Hilliard Darby High School. His students are learning from his Santiago experience as well.
“It’s really cool to be here and be able to take back some experiences for my students back home. They are all following the Games as part of a unit in class,” said Yost, who finished fourth in his 1-meter competition. “From what I hear from my mentor teacher, they’re getting a kick out of it.”
Yost has had a love of languages from a young age, apparently having a conversation with an elementary school teacher in another language.
“I took German in first grade. I don’t remember this, but my dad tells me when I changed schools between first and second grade, my parents had a meeting with the headmaster. I met with my teacher for second and third grade who speaks fluent German,” Yost recalled. “My dad tells me the entire time he was talking to the headmaster, I was speaking German with my teacher. I don’t remember any of it, and I barely speak a word of German now but apparently back in second grade, I was conversational.”
Yost has a goal of being able to speak seven languages.
“It’s a goal I set early in high school,” Yost said. “English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Mandarin and I had Russian, but I haven’t tried to speak Russian in a long time, so I might swap out Russian for Thai for my family heritage.”