Americans should strive to learn a second language

Kathleen Keaveny

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Learning a foreign language is not the easiest task to accomplish, but there are multiple benefits in doing so. Colorado State University offers multiple foreign language courses as electives, minors and majors. If you have the time or ability, it is highly recommended to take advantage of these opportunities that may open doors to other experiences. Here are four reasons to do so:

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Exposure to other cultures

A large part of learning another language is being exposed to cultures where that language originated and is spoken. This exposure comes from foreign language classes, literature and travel. Knowing a foreign language allows you to have a greater understanding of people, food, music, dance, art and so much more. Learning about and experiencing a different culture cultivates open-mindedness for other people, ideas and beliefs.

Employment opportunities

Knowing a foreign language opens many doors when it comes to employment opportunities. The first is that you can put the valuable skill of knowing a foreign language on a resume. It not only shows that you are familiar with another language, but it also displays a good work ethic, determination, connections and communication skills.

Secondly, it offers the option of working or traveling abroad. Living and working abroad would allow one to further develop their language skills as well as living in a new culture.

Lastly, speaking a second language presents opportunities to work with people of different cultures and languages within your own community, state or country. This offers the experience of becoming closer to a community as well as expanding your circle.

Travel

When a traveler knows the language of the country or region to which they are traveling, the experience gains more depth. The traveler is not only experiencing the food, art, music and popular sites, but they make a connection with the people. One of the most rewarding parts of travel is developing relationships with people who are so different but so similar to you and your culture. Being able to communicate with thousands, if not millions of new people, makes your world larger and a little less scary.

Cognitive abilities

Learning a second language, especially in childhood, has proven to develop many cognitive abilities such as creativity, critical thinking skills and a flexible mindset. Many consider learning a language as a cognitive ability and critical thinking process than a linguistic application. Learning and speaking a new language is a deliberate thinking process. Therefore, by using critical thinking to learn, the student gains retention for what they’ve processed.

Collegian Interactive News Team member Kathleen Keaveny can be reached at socialmedia@collegian.com or on Twitter @katkeaveny.