Bilingualism For Tomorrow Essay

1119 words - 4 pages

Americans need to take a lesson or two from the other countries of the world. The United States is one of the only countries that have a single official language. By communicating in only one language, the citizens of our fair country have isolated themselves from other cultures. In actuality, this is quite a feat. The world is becoming increasingly globalized by innovative technology and transportation systems. It is practically impossible to stay isolated from the rest of the world when you can pick up the phone to call Russia, e-mail a friend in Japan, and book a flight to France for the weekend all in the span of an hour. However, we Americans manage to pull the blinders on just as easy as a pair of Isotoners. Opportunities for international and cross-cultural understanding are knocking on our doorstep ready to remove the blinders, but are we ready to answer the door? One such opportunity is learning a foreign language to communicate more effectively with a larger number of people around the world. The majority of four-year colleges and universities in the United States offer one or more foreign languages as an option to students wishing to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree instead of a Bachelor of Science degree. However, all degree-seekers should be required to fulfill twelve credit hours of a foreign language before earning their undergraduate degree.Studying a foreign language for two years can be rewarding and valuable on a personal as well as a societal level. One of the prime motivations for getting a college degree is to get a good job after the student's studies are completed. Learning a foreign language can greatly enhance a person's marketability and worth. It increases the eligibility of job applicants to international corporations. The Department of English as a Second Language stated, "Perhaps one can 'get along with English' in international dealings, as critics of a language requirement sometimes claim, but in a highly competitive global environment, getting along is not enough" (ESL 2).Another personal benefit of studying a foreign language is the knowledge that a student gains about his or her native language. Students learn how to transfer skills and content of the foreign language in ways to better understand the skills, vocabulary, and content of the first language. They also make connections that reinforce content and skills in other areas such as science, fine arts and history (FL 3). The implementation of a university-wide requirement would increase the intelligence of their students as well. "A study of over 17,000 students . . . revealed that students who completed a foreign language course in high school tended to have higher scores on the ACT exams in English and math regardless of their ability level" (FL 1). Other research suggests that students who receive second language instruction are more creative and better at solving complex problems. Bilinguals also have outperformed monolinguals on both verbal and...

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