The Story Of How This Haitian Vanderbilt Basketball Player Learned English Is Fantastic

George Strait's The Cowboy Rides Away Tour Final Stop At AT&T Stadium - Show
Getty Image

The city of Nashville is no stranger to country music superstar George Strait. It’s not uncommon to hear Strait’s hits echoing out of bars in the Music City or from the Vanderbilt campus. But Strait’s music has found a new home in an unexpected place: Haiti.

Vanderbilt basketball freshman Djery Baptist came to America just a few years ago without knowing a single word of English. Upon arriving in the United States, the 6-foot-10 Haitian native discovered Strait’s music and instantly fell in love. Baptist told USA Today that he used Strait’s lyrics to teach himself English: 

“I was in America and didn’t know how to say anything in the language, but I thought I could learn it through music,” Baptiste said. “Country music was the best for me, and George Strait is my favorite. So I learned how to speak English by listening to him tell stories in his songs.”

The majority of Baptiste’s time in America has been spent in two country music hot beds: Dallas and Nashville. It’s no wonder he took to country music so quickly. Baptiste’s played for a Dallas-area prep school before committing to Vandy, but he wasn’t aware that Nashville was famous for country music until he arrived on campus.

“I did not know it was the country music city until I was walking around the museum and recognized all those old songs,” Baptiste said. “I heard them playing and I knew all the words. I would start singing them, and my teammates would be like, ‘How do you know all these songs?’ “

The final step for Baptiste’s country music fanhood is to become the college freshman who plays his acoustic guitar while sitting under a tree in the quad. He would make George Strait proud.

(Via USA Today)