By Sarah Pinkerton | Reporter
Globalization is defined as “the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale” and certainly holds relevance in our world. As students hit the outside world after graduation, knowing a foreign language can be of much assistance in their post-Grad endeavors.
This is why students of all majors should be required to take at least four semesters of a foreign language in college, and why they should take it seriously.
With globalization comes the inevitable interaction with people of varying types of nationalities. Being able to speak to others in their own language not only improves opportunity in your work life, but deepens personal connections and increases your global understanding.
Almost every career offers the opportunity to travel abroad for work, meaning there is a growing need for cross cultural communication and understanding.
Chinese is the number one spoken language in the world with over 1.3 billion native speakers. Spanish comes in at number two with 460 million native speakers, English in third place, Hindi in fourth and Arabic in fifth.
Bilingualism contributes to growing cultural competency, another necessary component to human development. When you learn the language of another nation, you get a peek into their culture. The enrichment of culture and development of language impact and shape each other and knowing the language of a region can give you deeper insight into the culture of the region.
In addition, learning a second language improves brain cognition. Studies have shown that knowing a second language increases one’s ability to multitask because of the need to distinguish between what language you’re speaking at what time. This skill then translates into other tasks.
Scientists say that the natural human brain begins to decline in memory and efficiency at age 25. However, it is argued by some that with the adaption of bilingualism, this decline is slowed because of the ability to use different brain networks.
It can be argued that learning a foreign language is not necessary for many majors. It may be seen as a nuisance in their course requirements, or as a distraction from their major-related courses. However, many majors already require a minimum of four semesters of foreign language and based on brain cognition studies, studying for these courses may have the potential to improve their study habits for their major.
Along with this, knowing a second language will make you stand out much more in the workforce and as you head out to seek a career. Companies, in any job field, will see that you have the ability to effectively converse with those of other countries and cultures, a vital component to the growing world, and will place high value in that ability.
An average of 92% of students learn a foreign language in European schools, outpacing the United States as their average is 20% during kindergarten through 12th grade. This lack of foreign language acquisition can be made up for during a student’s college years and certainly should.
There are many benefits to learning a second language. Cognitively and culturally, it is a growing need in our increasingly globalized world and in my opinion, should be a desire and requirement for all students in upper level education.