Learning a Second Language
Learning a second language is often a process that takes an investment of a significant amount of time and energy, as students focus on learning the complicated nuances of another tongue. For high school students, this investment may seem to be a waste of time or an unnecessary complication to be juggled with an assortment of other challenging subjects demanding one’s attention. In fact, learning a second language before pursuing post-secondary studies often gives students an edge over their peers, while also improving job prospects in the future. Furthermore, the personal growth and enlarged perspective such learning opportunities provide allow students to become better rounded individuals, benefits of which can be demonstrated in several different areas of life.
For students who have already determined that post-secondary studies at an accredited college or university are the right path for them, foreign language knowledge is often a graduation requirement. The vast majority of these academic institutions require at least two years of foreign language study, whereas some schools may require as much as four years of study. Meeting these requirements before graduation from high school means students will not need to take language courses while pursuing an advanced degree. This leaves students with more time to focus on the core curriculum for their chosen degree path, while also eliminating an additional obstacle towards obtaining one’s diploma.
In addition to the many benefits that foreign language study can present in the field of continued education, students who have mastered another language often secure better positions within their chosen industry following graduation. An increasingly competitive job market that has been dramatically impacted by the effects of globalization means job candidates with strong foreign language abilities are in great demand across a wide assortment of different industries. Individuals who can demonstrate proficiency in a particular language have a myriad of options open to them, some of which may come with higher salaries.
Another reason language learning should be encouraged in the high school setting is for the many advantages young language learners have over those who attempt to master a second language later in life. Linguistic experts have confirmed that individuals given the opportunity to become familiar with a second language at a young age demonstrate higher levels of proficiency and greater comprehension than their counterparts who began studying the language after their formative years. While high schoolers have already missed the crucial period during which their brains formed an understanding of how language works, they nevertheless have a unique advantage over adults who long ago closed the chapter on learning the ins and outs of verbal and written communication.
As students continue along the path of language learning, many are surprised to discover the desire to see another country or experience life in another part of the world. Some of these students opt to spend vacations traveling through foreign lands, while others may instead live abroad for a period of time. Not only can students benefit from being immersed in a culture where the foreign tongue is the dominant form of communication, but the perspective and world view many are left with starkly rivals those of individuals who have never seen how other parts of the world function. This perspective can be an invaluable resource for those hoping to work in an environment that places an emphasis on reaching customers dotted throughout the globe.
While the different benefits of learning a language could be extolled for days, ultimately language learning also proves to be an overwhelmingly fun experience for the majority of students who choose to embark on this adventure. Learning to express oneself through foreign words and embracing concepts that may be different to those accepted within one’s native culture forces individuals to reflect upon their own personal identities and how they have been shaped by the world around them. For many language learners, this phenomenon is a cathartic experience that allows one to obtain a more nuanced grasp on human societies in general, in addition to a greater appreciation for the academic process.