The benefits of learning a language in high school

Emma Gage, Reporter

Taking two years of Spanish in high school simply because your ideal college requires two language credits is something that many students can relate to. However, learning a second language while you are in high school has benefits that many students are unaware of. A second language will provide you with an abundance of opportunities to improve your future while also connecting you to other regions of the world.

A wider horizon of job options

In pretty much any profession, you work with a variety of people from many different cultures and backgrounds. Being able to connect with the growing variety of people in America is both important and respectful to those who may not have solid English skills. You don’t have to be able to hold a perfectly fluent conversation with a customer, but being able to understand someone’s wants in order to direct them to another person who can help them is a valuable skill. Having knowledge of a second language can reduce job competition and qualify you for more positions, giving you a chance to help more people and choose a job where you can be the most successful.

Exposure to more cultures

A major part of learning a language involves studying cultures and communities that use that language. Learning about different cultures can help you recognize and avoid the use of stereotypes. You may also learn how not to project the values and beliefs of your life onto someone else, even if you don’t realize that you are doing it. learning about a different group of people will allow you to be a more empathetic and understanding towards all kinds of situations and backgrounds.

You’ll improve your first language

In order to translate sentences with proper grammar into a second language, you have to be able to understand them in your first. You will end up strengthening your grammar skills even if you don’t realize it. As you practice translation from one language to another, you will become more aware of skills that you are not strong in and will be forced to fix them.

Traveling and studying abroad opportunities

Many colleges offer opportunities to study abroad and whether they are mission trips, volunteer campaigns, or just cultural immersion, being able to speak another language will widen your horizon of potential places to visit. Knowing even the basics of another language can also help you be smarter and safer about your where you travel. By learning the basic background information about the cultures of the areas that you plan to travel to, you learn things like what places to avoid, what proper customs are, and what would be the most interesting to see. Language classes may also make you aware of places that you may not have even known to exist.

Whether you’re fluent in a second language or only know a few basic phrases and want to learn more, having knowledge of another culture can open up a whole other world of opportunities. Being able to connect with as many people as possible is a valuable trait that has numerous benefits. What better time to start collecting these benefits than now?