I have always loved learning about different cultures, languages, and meeting people from all over the globe. In high school people constantly told me I was insane for taking both German and French at the same time. But they were always my favorite classes. A good amount of my peers couldn’t wait to get out of their foreign language class.
But I feel in the American school system the importance of learning a second language is not always held as a high priority. It is interesting though to look at the education system in Europe. Most children start with learning English almost as soon as they start school. But this is not just a “once a week class,” but rather; it is held a class as important as their math or science class. Then typically around middle school time they pick up another language to begin learning such as Italian or French. The American school system does typically have children start off at a young age with Spanish but it does not seem to be held with the same importance as their other classes.
I encourage my peers and everyone to take learning another language more serious. It truly opens up a whole new world for you when it comes to academics, work, and social life. (Besides I have heard that English is one of the hardest languages to learn so we have it easy sine it is our native tongue).
When you learn a language you get the chance to really embrace and learn about the culture of those who speak it. This is special. In my opinion (rather than living in the country) learning another culture’s language is the fastest way to learn about their history and way of life. The language can actually teach you a ton about a culture without ever visiting the country. The way of life of a culture is often brought forth through language. It is a little hard to explain but I suppose my best example is that Eskimos have nearly 50 words just for snow. This paints the picture of an Eskimo’s typical day and gives insight on how much their life revolves around snow. Each language will give indications, like this example, on the way life is for those who speak that language.
You’re going to make plenty of mistakes while learning a language but that’s perfectly okay. My French teacher once told me that, “to become fluent in a language you’re going to have to make 20,000 mistakes first.” That’s the thing about language is it taught me I do not have to be perfect all of the time, and that my mistakes will ultimately be the reason I will learn. It is sort of like life in the way that you will never be perfect, but to try to be the best you can be you must accept your mistakes along the way.
You will make new friends in ways you never thought you would. In my junior year of high school I met this exchange student from Stuttgart, Germany. We hit it off because I went up to her and spoke German. If I didn’t know German I don’t know if we would have been as good as friends as we were or not. Now being in college I (hopefully) plan on doing a semester abroad in Germany because I feel confident with the language. Knowing another language definitely makes it less scary to travel.
Lastly, it helps you stand out when looking for a job. The job competition is high out there, so it helps to add to your resume as much as you can. Knowing another language will definitely help you to stand out.
I get that learning another language could seem intimidating or boring to someone. But, from my personal experience I highly suggest for you to try to learn another language. Who knows it could make a world of a difference in your life.