Learning a second language has nothing but positives for the future

In Opinion
JOEL KRAMER / Flickr
JOEL KRAMER / Flickr

There‘s no doubt that knowing more than one language has its benefits. Teachers and employers have underscored its importance, and now Cal State Fullerton, has made it a requirement to graduate.

According to the 2013-2015 catalog, two academic years in the same foreign language is required to graduate.

By adopting a second language requirement in order to graduate, the university is leading its students towards the path of success.

A person who is fluent in more than one language has a better chance of getting hired or promoted in their field, giving them a definite advantage over their monolingual peers.

The Department of Modern Language and Literature lists 10 benefits to learn a language varying from appreciating international literature, music and film, to increasing understanding of oneself and one’s own culture.

A second language can improve a person’s chances of entry into college or graduate school while increasing global understanding and sharpening cognitive skills that can prove beneficial in the future.

CSUF students are at a unique advantage, as 33 percent of the student population is Hispanic and the chances that a fair amount of those Hispanic students speak Spanish are very high.

In addition, there are over a dozen cultural Latino clubs and organizations on campus so students not only have the resources they need to learn the Spanish language, but also have the resources to learn about the culture.

The Pew Research Center reported that a record 37.6 million people in the U.S. ages 5 years and older speak Spanish at home making it the most spoken non-English language in the country.

“The next most spoken non-English languages are Chinese (with 2.8 million speakers), Hindi, Urdu or other Indic languages (2.2 million), French or French Creole (2.1 million), and Tagalog (1.7 million),” according to an article from the Pew Research Center.

With the university implementing a foreign language requirement, students can strengthen their command of languages spoken at home. Oftentimes, students learn a colloquial variation of their native language. Though this colloquial variation may reflect rich cultural intricacies, it may be difficult for speakers of the same language to understand because of the lack of standardization.

Heritage speakers may be able to hold an informal conversation between friends, but without the fundamental training they would receive in the classroom, they will have difficulty using their language in formal and business type settings.

The understanding of a second language can open a variety of doors for students to experience a culture firsthand.

Foreign movies give viewers a unique perspective at a culture’s thoughts and values often times disregarded by the public.

Most cities, churches, schools and public organizations host cultural events with food, music and entertainment. Knowing a second language can compliment a person’s experience because they can speak to various people and gather a deeper understanding of the culture.

When push comes to shove, learning how to conjugate verbs is much easier than dissecting a frog. Incorrectly conjugating a verb will not result in irreparable damage to a bodily organ.

With the second language requirement already in effect, it is time for students to stop resisting an opportunity for self improvement, and time for them to embrace the reality that learning another language will be beneficial to their futures.

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One commentOn Learning a second language has nothing but positives for the future

  • Yeah like anyone is going to be fluent in a second language in two years. Mildred is padding her “diversity’ resume while padding GPAs of students who already speak second languages.

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