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Humanities

Why Study a World Language?


Languages unlock so many doors

Think about how many more people and places you could really get to know, newspapers and books you could read, movies and TV programs you could understand, Websites you could visit with another language!

Give yourself a competitive edge

Did you know that studying a second language can improve your skills and grades in math and English and can improve entrance exam scores: GREs, MCATs, and LSATs? The longer you study a global language, the stronger your skills become to succeed in school. Studying a world language can improve your analytic and interpretive capacities. And three years of language study on your academic record will catch the eye of anyone reading your job or college application.

The job advantage in a global economy

Ever heard of a thing called "globalization"? Businesses need many different kinds of workers who can communicate in different languages and understand other cultures. No matter what career you choose, if you've learned a second language, you'll have a real advantage. There are lots of Americans who speak languages other than English. Nurses, doctors, or police officers may need to speak more than one language to do their jobs well. Hotel managers or journalists who know English and Spanish or English and French may look much better at promotion time than people who know only English.

Knowing more than one language enhances opportunities in government, business, law, medicine and health care, teaching, technology, the military, communications, industry, social service, and marketing. An employer will see you as a bridge to new clients or customers if you know a second language. You are also more likely to win the trust and friendship of people whose languages you know ̶ even if you know them just un poco.

Discover new worlds!

Discover new worlds! Get an insider's view of another culture and a new view of your own. Studying a new language, reading other people's stories, and connecting with people in their own language can be a source of pleasure and surprise. Connect with other cultures. Learning about other cultures will help you expand your personal horizons and become a responsible citizen. Your ability to talk to others and gain knowledge beyond the world of English can contribute to your community and your country.

It's never too late to learn

Learning a language is not just learning grammar and vocabulary; it is learning new sounds, expressions, and ways of seeing things; it is learning how to act in another culture, how to know a new community from the inside. When should you start and how much can you learn? You are never too young and it is never too late to begin. Depending on how long you study, you can gain different levels of fluency. You will probably not sound like a native speaker who has spoken the language at home as a child. Don't worry; you're not expected to. To a greater or lesser degree you will, however, make yourself understood, read magazines or books for pleasure or information, and meet and talk with new groups of people. Of course, it doesn't happen overnight. Like learning math, history, or playing the piano, language learning takes time. And it adds to who you are.

Ten Good Reasons for Learning an International Language