Everyone should learn another language

Elyse Perry, staff writer

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For most students, dealing with one language seems to be more than enough work. In America, we tend to think that everyone else will just learn English and we’ll be able to get by easily with our monolingual lifestyle. The thing is, being bilingual is more useful than most people would think. 

If you want to keep thinking that you will never, ever, in your life find the need to speak a foreign language, think of it like math. You’re probably thinking, when will we ever use most of the stuff we learn in math class in our daily lives? That’s the thing: we use those lessons every day in the way we solve problems and think outside-of-the-box. Learning a foreign language helps you to be more open-minded. It can also give you the benefits of better memory and improved decision making skills. Not only that, but people who learn foreign languages are shown to have lower stress levels and multitask much better. It can delay early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as well. 

Being multilingual can also hold many career benefits. If you can speak more than just one language, there is a higher chance that you could be chosen for a job over more experienced, monolingual applicants. Also, there are more choices for career paths if you speak multiple languages. In each career path, there are also so many more chances to advance or switch positions. For example, you could be able to become a manager in a branch of a company in a different country. 

Another thing that knowing a foreign language helps with is traveling. I know, I know, this one is super obvious, but it is still worth mentioning. One thing most people don’t know is that most countries are like America in at least one way: they like it when people speak their language (If you haven’t heard someone say, “You’re in America, speak English,” then I’m very surprised). If you are lost in France and you walk up to someone and attempt to speak French to them, they will be much more willing to help you or to just switch to English if they know it. Also, if you aren’t comfortable asking for help and you get lost, if you know even a little bit of the language, you are much more likely to figure out where you are. 

There are also social benefits to being multilingual. Like I previously said, people are nicer if you try to speak their language. This tends to be true in a social setting too. Knowing more languages than just English often makes people open to more opportunities. For example, you can meet and bond with new people. For example, last year at diving sectionals, I met a girl named Charlotte who was from Belgium. She spoke French. As I was in my first year of French, we couldn’t have a French conversation, but we could make fun of my accent together. 

Take a foreign language class and take it seriously. There is so much to learn and appreciate that would never even cross your mind. Being in a language class let me experience new food, history, and holidays. Like Madame Tyner says, “You’re not just studying a language, you’re studying a culture.”