Learning a foreign language has multiple benefits, opens doors for career opportunities

September 19, 2017

Lily Spencer

lspencer@uccs.edu

    For college students who don’t plan on leaving the country, learning a foreign language might seem trivial.

    But learning a second language is incredibly beneficial, not only in the context of your future career, but also to your mind and the way you see the world.  

    We live in a society that is becoming increasingly globalized. If you hope to get a job in the global market, which includes anything from a marketing manager to a video game tester, it is incredibly important to have experience with other cultures.

    According to a 2011 article by the Chicago Tribune, industries such as healthcare, finance social service and sales prefer applicants who are bilingual. Various industries rely heavily on people of varied cultural experiences to be interconnected, and speaking another language helps in doing so.

    Applicants who know another language have a distinct advantage, especially if it is considered a “critical” language, or one that is less commonly taught, like Mandarin or Arabic.

    Being bilingual also helps to learn more languages that can help you understand other cultures.

    Recent events have shown that we could all benefit from learning, to understanding and accepting other cultures.

   Knowing another language also immerses you into the customs, traditions and social intricacies of another culture.

    Because you are able to truly communicate, you may find that your interaction with  non-English speakers goes a little deeper. You make a stronger connection.

    A study by the University of Haifa in Israel indicated that people who knew two languages had an easier time learning three languages than people who only knew one language had learning two languages.

    Learning another language, however, can be a privilege to many, especially those who may not originally be from the United States.  

    Even in the U.S., not everyone has the opportunity to improve their language skills; foreign language education in the U.S. is lacking.     

    A report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences found that less than percent of K-12 students were learning a foreign language in seven states, including Colorado.

    Along with this, elementary schools that taught foreign language fell from 31 percent in the 1995-1996 school year to 25 percent in 2007-2008. This means that learning another language starting at a young age may not be encouraged as much as we think.

    Speaking a foreign language can have lifelong neurological advantages, which benefits everyone who decides to learn a second language, as well.  

    A study by University of Ghent in Belgium studied the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in monolingual and bilinguals. The results “indicated that bilingualism delayed the manifestation of symptoms by 4.6 years.”

     Learning another language can also improve your English, making you more aware of your own language’s grammar and semantics. This means you could become a stronger communicator, which is also important to form personal or professional relationships.

    Americans stereotypically expect everybody to speak English but make no attempt to learn another language ourselves. We hide ourselves in this English-speaking-only bubble, either because we are too self-involved or too afraid.

    Think of all the doors you could open and the barriers you could break through by expanding your knowledge beyond the country where you live and the language you speak.

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