Learning a second language is a great way to get your brain working and learn a useful skill. However, many students today stick to English and drop out of foreign language studies. Why do you choose to limit yourself to one language?
One reason could be the time and dedication it takes to learn a second language. Students shy away from language studies because it is perceived as difficult. Not only is studying a foreign language difficult, but it is not necessarily a practical skill for most majors. There has been a huge push in recent years for students to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), which are considered more useful when it comes to finding employment. Languages may have been left behind due to the number of students who chose to enter STEM fields.
The prevalence of English has also made language study less important in the eyes of many students. English is commonly spoken throughout Europe and is the international language of business. There is more pressure for non-English speakers to learn English than for English speakers to learn another language and is often assessed by potential employers through means such as the IELTS test.
Finally, technology has influenced the decline of foreign language studies. With the Internet and the easy availability of translation software, many no longer see the need for humans to learn other languages. Instead, they rely on computers to translate everything into English.
But these reasons should not be used as an excuse to stop teaching foreign languages to students. The benefits of learning a foreign language go far beyond the ability to translate from English to another language.
For one thing, learning a foreign language is good for your brain. It forces you to use new parts of the brain, and new studies show that learning a second language actually makes your brain grow larger, while studying other subjects, such as science, has no effect. Learning another language can also help English speakers better understand their own language, as they are forced to learn about sentence structure and parts of speech in order to speak their new language.
The benefits of learning a new language also go beyond the brain itself. When students study a foreign language, they also often learn about the places where that language is spoken and the history and culture that surrounds it. This can help promote cross-cultural understanding and open students’ eyes to new ways of seeing the world.
Finally, for students who want to travel, it may be better to learn another language rather than relying on others to learn English. Learning the language of another country shows that you have taken an interest in truly experiencing the country. It opens you up to more authentic interactions with the locals and can make traveling that much more rewarding.
While technology can translate words and phrases from one language to another, it cannot replace the human elements of language. Language is not just about translating words. It’s about embracing something strange and, at the same time, allowing you to expand your own mind and worldview.
If we allow foreign languages to become a lost art, we will lose much more than the ability to speak another language. We will lose the connections that can be built if we take the time to immerse ourselves in other cultures.