Student Commentary: Why You Should Take a Foreign Language Class

Student Commentary: Why You Should Take a Foreign Language Class

Renee Chua

Learning a new language takes time and may be difficult, but the benefits will help students inside and outside of the classroom. Studying a foreign language also exposes people to various cultures, and this knowledge can be used when traveling to a different country. Tilghman offers three different foreign language classes: Spanish, French and German.

There are numerous cognitive benefits that come from learning a foreign language. People who speak more than one language have better memories, enhanced critical thinking skills and have improved listening skills. Bilingual people have better memories because their brains have to work harder in order to be able to switch between languages and comprehend what is being said. The simultaneous activities that the brain processes requires a finer working memory. Moving on, there is an increase in critical thinking skills due to training their minds to choose when to use the correct language. The adaptability and flexibility comes in handy when it’s time to think through a hard math problem or concept. Finally, different sounds are made in various languages; therefore, the brains of bilinguals get better at processing sounds.

Outside of the classroom, the benefits of foreign language can be seen when applying for a competitive job or traveling to a new country. Being bilingual can set one apart from the other applicants. This skill comes in handy when a client only speaks a certain language and they need someone to translate for them. Additionally, many opportunities are presented. One can move up the ladder because these skills can push a company to expand. Learning about a new language is also about learning about the culture of the people that speak it. If one takes a Spanish class and travels to Mexico, the basic words and phrases can be handy when asking where the bathroom is or asking for directions. Being able to communicate with the locals can result in a deeper understanding of the country and its people.

Foreign language classes provide students with skills that will be used for a lifetime. As a student who has taken Spanish all four years of high school, I would recommend all students to take some sort of foreign language class. Even though it may take extra time out of one’s day to study new vocabulary, it’s all worth it.