Language and learning a new language is critical to people’s understanding, memory, decision making, communication, and attention span. There are currently 7,106 languages spoken around the world.
High schools across the United States typically require two years of a foreign language. In this class, students learn listening skills, speaking skills, and how to deal with complex concepts. They even advance one’s knowledge of their own language.
An overwhelming amount of four-year colleges also require a minimum of two years of a foreign language. For many, this is a huge reason as to why students choose to learn in high school. They are able to save themselves time and money.
Choosing to learn a foreign language in high schools puts you far beyond your competitors in the workforce, you gain respect for others and their worlds, and allows you to live a more culturalized life through traveling.
While traveling internationally you become engulfed in different cultures. Having an understanding of the language spoken will help you to communicate and participate more effectively and responsibly in a multicultural world; while also becoming more diversified.
Elizabeth Streb, a Spanish teacher at Prairie High School states, “learning another language gets you to look outside of your bubble, especially if you travel abroad, and experience another culture first hand.”
Speaking a foreign language will help you to better understand the sights, landmarks, history, and directions given while traveling. You will be able to receive the full experience of the land.
Streb believes, “it’s one thing to go to a resort in another country and lay on the beach, but it’s completely different if you actually go and explore the country and see what it has to offer.”
Foreign language study leads to an appreciation of cultural diversity. According to Richelle Szypulski, a journalist, and travel enthusiast, “in order to travel the world, whether, for business or pleasure, a desire and willingness to adapt to new cultures and methods are necessary.”
The study of foreign languages teaches and encourages respect for other people: it fosters an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature. Streb states, “if we took the time to learn about other ways of life, traditions, and even the problems that exist in other cultures, our world would have a lot less hate.”
Through communication, you can learn about different foods, drinks, art, music, history, clothing, holidays and traditions. Foreign languages expand one’s worldview and limits the barriers between people.
Foreign language widens one’s worldviews, enchants experiences, and makes one more flexible and tolerant. Through learning a foreign language, you become less prejudice towards people who are different from you.
Many jobs seek for those bilingual individuals. According to Laura Morsch, a career builder, “to find and keep valuable bilingual workers, employers are willing to pay big. On average, bilingual pay differentials range between 5 and 20 percent per hour more than the position’s base rate”
For example, “government workers in California who hold bilingual positions earn an extra $.58 an hour,” according to the state’s Department of Personnel Administration. Any career that requires any sort of communication with people could benefit from a foreign language.
Streb tells, “I can’t think of many careers where it wouldn’t be helpful to know a foreign language. As a Spanish teacher, I constantly hear from other adults, “I took Spanish in high school and I wish I had stuck with it because…” and the reasons they tell me almost always relate to their careers.”
Being bilingual enhances one’s opportunities in government, business, medicine, law, technology, military, industry, and marketing. Specific jobs include social work, translator, human resources, teacher, flight attendants, and nurses.
Streb then goes on to say, “I once heard a business owner say about hiring new employees, “when I see “bilingual” on a resume, it goes to the top of my pile.” Being bilingual is a HUGE asset that you can offer to your workplace that many other candidates may not possess. It puts you ahead of the game and makes you a more competitive candidate.”
For those interested in learning a new language: use the language as much as possible, do things you like in your second language, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and never give up on learning it. There are resources such as books, classes, and audio that allow you practice and learn.
Learning a foreign language enters you into a world of possibilities. Streb proudly states, “let’s put it this way, I have never in my life met a person who said, “I regret learning a second language,” but I have met multiple people who regretted not learning one.”