What makes for a positive college experience? When students reflect on their college years, they’ll likely credit their success to dedicated instructors, innovative learning opportunities, great friends, and tolerable cafeteria food in the dorms.
There’s one factor that is often overlooked as essential to the college experience: language learning. With fewer colleges and universities requiring foreign language study, enrollment in language learning classes is down. When students miss out on learning a new language, they’re missing out on a lot more than just a few course credits. In today’s global society, a multilingual skill set and perspective is more crucial than ever. Here are just 3 reasons why language learning should be part of the college experience.
1. Language learning boosts cultural competency.
Today’s college campus is made up of students from all walks of life – no two student experiences are the same. Most colleges and universities aim to create a multicultural, globally-competent campus climate. How do you promote cultural competency campus-wide to ensure students are exposed to a variety of people, places, and things?
When students study a foreign language, they’re learning much more than a new language. Language learning increases cultural awareness, helping students develop the ability to communicate and build relationships across cultural differences. Foreign language study is an effective way to widen a student’s world view, encouraging them to consider our linguistic and historical past and how it fits into a modern context. The cognitive benefits, like better listening skills and improved memory, are just icing on the cake.
2. Language learning prepares you for a global workforce.
Investing in culturally competent students isn’t just good for our society, it also gives students an edge in today’s global workforce. Some students might think that foreign language study is only necessary for a career in translation or working abroad. In fact, foreign language skills give you a competitive advantage across disciplines: accountants, marketers, scientists, lawyers, and doctors widen their career opportunities when they speak more than one language.
In college, students can take their diverse academic interests even further by learning a second language. As they market themselves to employers for internships, jobs, research opportunities, and higher education, they’ll find their language skills give them greater value as a candidate. Plus, knowing a second language can add between 10% and 15% to your salary, and there’s no downside to that.
3. Language learning unlocks a world of adventures.
Cultural competency + global hireability = lots of adventures. College students are a curious, bold bunch, and learning a new language perfectly complements their big sense of adventure. When students pack up their new language skills and hit the road, their travels will lead them to more authentic experiences, meaningful conversations in the language of study, and new opportunities to make impact. Whether your students choose to study abroad in Paris or take a service trip to Haiti for Spring Break, learning the language will transform their experience and expand their worldview.
There are many ways to increase foreign language enrollment on your campus, and Mango can help you identify solutions and strategies to boost language learning. Read how one university worked with Mango to achieve six-fold increase in foreign language enrollment.