Why Study a Second Language

Learning a new Language opens up a whole world of possibilities. Learn about the opportunities you can take advantage of by learning a second language! Here are some reasons to take advantage of language classes provided by the Department of Classical & Modern Languages. 

A Competitive Edge

Studying a second language can improve skills and grades in math and English and can improve exam scores--GREs, MCATs, and LSATs. Research has shown that math and verbal scores climb higher with each additional year of foreign language study, which means that the longer one studies a foreign language, the stronger the skills become to succeed in school. Studying a foreign language improves analytic and interpretive capacities.

The Job Advantage in a Global Economy

More and more businesses work closely with companies in other countries. They need many different kinds of workers who can communicate in different languages and understand other cultures. No matter what the career, a second language is a real advantage. A technician who knows Russian or German, the head of a company who knows Japanese or Spanish, or a salesperson who knows French or Chinese can work successfully with many more people and in many more places than someone who knows only one language.

There are lots of Americans who speak languages other than English. Students who think of being a nurse, a doctor, a police officer, a judge, an architect, a businessperson, a singer, a plumber, or a Web master, multiply their chances for success if they speak more than one language. A hotel manager or a customer-service representative who knows English and Spanish or English and Korean will be more successful than one who knows only English.

Professionals who know other languages are called on to travel and exchange information with people in other countries throughout their careers. Knowing more than one language enhances opportunities in government, business, medicine and health care, law enforcement, teaching, technology, the military, communications, industry, social service, and marketing. An employer sees employees who know a second language as a bridge to new clients or customers.

Learning Other Cultures: The World and Beyond

Visit entirely new worlds! Get an insider's view of another culture and a new view of your own.

Connect with other cultures. Knowledge of other cultures will help students expand their personal horizons and become responsible citizens. The ability to talk to others and gather information beyond the world of English will contribute to our community and to our country.

Go for the Excitement: New Ways of Language Learning

What can students expect? Students will learn a second language in exciting new ways using technology and focusing on communication or speaking. Learning a language is not just learning grammar and vocabulary. It is learning new sounds, expressions, and ways of seeing things; it is learning how to function in another culture, how to know a new community from the inside out.

How much can students learn? Depending on how long students study, they can gain different levels of fluency. Don't worry; they're not expected to sound like native speakers. To a greater or lesser degree students will, however, be understood, get where they want to go, read magazines or books for information or pleasure, and meet and talk with a whole new group of people. It's a great experience! Of course, it doesn't happen overnight. Like math, English, or other subjects, language learning takes time.

Should students continue language study after high school? Yes! In fact, students who learned a language in high school can use that study to get credit at UofL thanks to the Placement Exam