Why We Need An Increase In Foreign Language Education
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Politics and Activism

Why We Need An Increase In Foreign Language Education

Communication is so valuable.

Why We Need An Increase In Foreign Language Education

For the past eight years, I have taken foreign language courses in Spanish in the United States. With that said, it should be expected that my Spanish speaking and writing skills would be significantly developed. However, I barely even think that I have reached a basic elementary level.

This is because foreign language skills are completely pushed aside in the American education system. We view it as an “elective,” and an extra course significantly less important than one like math or science. Of course these classic courses are vital to a student’s education, but I also believe that one like foreign language is equally as fundamental to receive a high-quality education.

After spending my first year at Boston University, I have been surrounded by thousands of peers who can speak multiple languages fluently. I find it incredible that two of my best friends speak English as their second language, yet they are able to communicate everything so effortlessly. I am envious of this ability of theirs, and feel disadvantaged that I can only speak one language. I’d love to be able to travel abroad and become friends with others using a language different than my own. Often times I have found that English speakers expect others to always be able to speak English wherever they travel, but we cannot always count on this to be the case.

What I have found in my previous foreign language classes, is that after about the third year, each level covers the same material. Ever since my tenth grade Spanish class (and I am now a rising sophomore), I have been learning the same vocabulary, the same conjugations, and sometimes even reading the same passages. This stagnant method of teaching an evolving language is completely ineffective. My peers and I learned the tricks to get good grades-- I’ve always received A’s in my Spanish classes. Yet if you put me in a Spanish speaking country, I would probably become paralyzed, completely unsure of how to communicate in their day-to-day lives.

With that said, I think we need to make our foreign language classes more applicable to what the language is like currently. This may make the classes a little bit more difficult, but I think it will be much more effective in the long run in helping students communicate with foreigners using the new language.

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