Let’s face it, most of us have taken one (or more) foreign language classes in high school but once we graduate and start college, we drop those languages like a hot potato.
The idea of learning a new language is amazing and exciting, but once the lessons take a turn for grammar and pronunciation, the tough part begins. While some languages may be easier to learn than others, learning a second or even a third language is actually a smart idea, in an age where bilingual speakers are more competitive in the job market than people who speak only one language.
The rising power countries in the world are now being called “BRIC,” which stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China. Thus, Portuguese, Russian, Mandarin and Hindu and several Indian dialects are now becoming the top languages learned in the world. In the United States, several high school students are opting to learn Spanish, French or Chinese. Spanish itself is extremely sought after in any job market, seeing as the rising immigrant population in the United States is also leading to a rising level of children that speak two languages, Spanish at home and English at school.
Middle Eastern languages have also seen a rise in student enrollment. Since the Iraq/Afghanistan war, the enrollment of these languages has seen a huge increase, and will continue to see a rise long after as U.S. and Middle Eastern relations continue to be on the world and U.S. agenda.
But what do you do if learning languages isn’t something that you want to do again for another four years?
Simple: You don’t have to. Of course, there are perks that come with being bilingual or multilingual. Here are a few:
1) Knowing a different language almost guarantees you a position in whatever company, firm, or job market you are into.
2) Increase in pay. While it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be paid more than your fellow colleagues, you can be confident in the fact that if your employers were looking to give promotions, you’d be among the first on their list if you put your language talents to good use.
3) Opportunities to travel. Travelling the world is usually in the bucket list of many people who hope to retire and travel to exotic locations around the world. But you don’t have to wait until retirement to experience world culture. You can always strive to stand out and show your employers you are qualified to take on overseas assignments.
Studying abroad also increases the feasibility of learning a new language. Complete immersion in the culture and language that you are studying is only possible through studying abroad, and UF offers several opportunities for students to do so through foreign exchange programs. They even let you cancel a housing contract in the middle of the school year if you’re studying abroad.
The university strives to provide those students that wish to study abroad with simple and easy ways to do so, in this case, they facilitate cancellation of your housing contract if you opt to study abroad for a semester and brush up on those language skills.