Column: The value in foreign language classes
Foreign language classes are often perceived as the most challenging general education requirement.
Unsure if a foreign language would be necessary in their chosen career field, students often lower their heads and barrel through these courses filled with unfamiliar content. However, it is widely accepted that foreign language classes are actually quite beneficial for more than fulfilling general education requirements.
Before arriving at USC Aiken in the fall of 2016, I ventured to Latin America for a 15-day excursion for a humanitarian effort. My infatuation with the culture has taken me back for three consecutive summers ever since. .. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Managua, Nicaragua and back again.
Prior to each trip I independently studied Spanish, using methods such as Duolingo, Google Translate and flash cards. I was quickly disillusioned each time, and had wished I had a teacher to help me prepare. Each time I landed in Nicaragua was like stepping into another world. No English words written on signs nor buildings and floods of conversation I longed to understand.
“I’m taking Spanish seriously this time!” I told myself each year. Though by that time I was immersed in a different language and culture. Locals wanted to become my friends and share conversations. They wanted to hear about the United States from a native and children wanted to play games and tell stories. There I stood, each moment seldom able to communicate and wishing I knew their language extensively. Had I taken a class and retained the language, I would have been able to seize presented opportunities.
This is why I implore readers to pick up a foreign language class, whatever language of your liking. Because like my story and so many others, it is worth more than a grade on your transcript. Foreign language classes offer a window into new cultures, cultures that one may unexpectedly find himself experiencing first hand. The ability to communicate in other languages not only expands employment opportunity, retaining a new language stretches the mind and opens connection for new relationships.
Columns written by editors and writers of Pacer Times do not necessarily reflect the opinion of staff members or leadership. Letters to the editor may be emailed to Editor-in-Chief Cecilia Maddox at firstname.lastname@example.org, and will be published at the editorial staff’s discretion.