Why Language Is Important To A Liberal Arts Education
Start writing a post
Student Life

Why Language Is Important To A Liberal Arts Education

When taking foreign language classes, you are not only learning how to speak the language but also learning about the culture.

Why Language Is Important To A Liberal Arts Education

Recently, I have been informed that my liberal arts college has proposed that we get rid of a foreign language requirement for all students, and they want opinions. Well, quite frankly, I am not happy about it. Maybe I'm biased, being a Spanish major and all, and correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the point of being a liberal arts college to give students skills that they will need for lifelong learning? Is language not a skill that we need for lifelong learning?

The problem with getting rid of a foreign language requirement is that it is the beginning of what could eventually become a domino effect. If the foreign language requirement is taken out of our college curriculum, then what would stop the college from taking out another requirement? Maybe a history requirement, or intensive writing, maybe even a science requirement. An argument for getting rid of the language requirement could be, "The student is not interested in language, so why must they take it?"

Well, a student might be a business major, so why should they be required to take science? Or, my favorite, "It is not necessary for the student to study another language because it is not needed for their major." I'm sorry, what? Please enlighten me as to what career field would NOT benefit from knowing another language. Businesses majors should know a second language because they will be doing business with many different people, some of which will most likely not speak English.

Education majors should know a second language because not all children will just speak English, and there is a good chance that they will encounter parents who speak even less English than their children. Pre-Med students should definitely know a second language so that they can effectively communicate with their patients. The list literally goes on and on.

By getting rid of a foreign language requirement, you are essentially saying that the cultural aspect of a liberal arts education is unnecessary. When taking foreign language classes, you are not only learning how to speak the language but also learning about the culture. Any 101 class in language, which is what most non-native speakers will be taking, will incorporate culture into their course. At my college, we pride ourselves on being diverse and accepting of different cultures. But HOW can you pride yourself on being diverse and excepting if you are not even educated in at least ONE different culture. If you do not require a student to take a foreign language class, the chances of them taking ANY culture or language class outside of what their major requires are slim to none.

For me, it is just hard to justify priding ourselves on being a liberal arts college if you are okay with cutting out key components of what makes it liberal arts. Liberal arts schools enrich their students' minds with a variety of different things, rather than strictly following a rubric of courses that will train them for a specific career. In the long run, a liberal arts education will have better prepared the student for their job. Actually, employers look for people who have a broad range of knowledge with an appreciation of diversity. Once again, cutting language out of the curriculum makes the students less diverse. I do not see why foreign language is any less important to an education than science, math, history or English.

Each of these fields is essential to creating an education that will prepare a student for life outside of college. It actually is kind of a slap in the face to all the language majors and professors for the college to say, "Hey, we don't find your field of study important enough to incorporate into the 'well-rounded' education of the other students." So I am outraged, and I am flabbergasted ( a word I learned in English) and maybe the college should look at the statistics (thank you math) of how taking a language positively affects students. Maybe even look at the history of different cases where having known a second language would've created a different outcome in a situation, and then do some research or create an experiment (oh, hey science) on the positive effects of language on a student's brain. Basically, even the THOUGHT of getting rid of the language requirement is absurd, because if you do that, then you really don't stand for what a liberal arts education provides. Pero esa es solo mi opinión.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

College 101: How To Ease The Back To School Blues

Getting back into the school groove when you just can't seem to let go of summer.

Beyond The States

With fall classes just beginning, many of us find ourselves struck with summer withdrawals. Especially for those who refrained from taking courses over the summer, it can be quite difficult to get back in the swing of things. Fortunately, there are various ways to help make the transition back to college as smooth as possible.

Keep Reading... Show less
Dating Apps

We Met At A Bar

Salvage what you can; if you can't, it's alright to walk away.

We Met At A Bar
Anne Waldon

We met at a bar.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Mets And Me

They may be the worst sometimes, but this baseball team has given me more than I could ask for.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

On September 3rd, 2001, a sea of children littered my home's navy-carpeted den to watch baseball during my dad's 40th birthday extravaganza. A baseball game flickered on the TV, and a red and blue bubble of a scoreboard sat in the bottom right corner of the screen. The New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies were in a wild game at Veterans' Stadium. As I, a five-year-old boy with a jumble of curly blonde hair, sat in the back of the kid clump, I wondered which team I should root for. After a long debate with myself, I decided that I should root for the team that's winning (duh). But, as the ninth inning rolled around with the Phils maintaining a 7-5 lead, some magic occurred. The Mets put up five runs in one frame, stunning the Phillie fans in the room and winning the game 10-7.

Keep Reading... Show less

Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

If you love BTS, I'm sure you relate to one or many of them in several ways. This star test will help you learn more about which member you are most connected to.

Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

Astrological signs tell a lot about a person. Do you ever wonder what your BTS bias star sign is? Is it the same as yours, or or are you more like one of the other amazing members? Take a look and find out what yours (and the members of Bangtan) says about you.

Keep Reading... Show less

Hittin' the Road Playlist

With the end of August approaching more quickly than many of us would like, the preparation for school is happening in more ways than just one.


The car is all packed. The money you saved (and didn't spend online) from your summer internship is secured quietly in your bank account. The immediate reunion with your long-distance college friends is set. The real question on everyone's minds is: do you have the perfect melody to jam to as you journey back to school? 

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments