Why Study a Foreign Language?
What many people don’t realize is that by taking a foreign language course, you will benefit in the future both personally and professionally. Beyond just learning a new language, you will also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture, broaden your world view, and deepen your knowledge of your own language.
Imagine being able to go to another country and be able to understand a map, talk to a cab driver, or even discuss a poem. Imagine making connections with people across the barriers of language, culture, and history. Imagine the ways your personality and life might change when you meet and communicate with people whose cultural background differs from yours. Imagine the difference you might make in the lives of others, inside the US and out, who are reaching out across the world to you. Imagine the difference those people might make to you.
Many students come to college looking for classes that will help them build successful and interesting careers as teachers, business people, communicators, scientists, etc. Others want to grow intellectually, to change the world, or to change themselves. Language and culture study at Pasadena City College offers courses that meet all those needs.
What language study can do for you
- Broadens your experiences and expands your view of the world
- Encourages critical reflection on the relation of language and culture, language and thought
- Develops your intellect and teaches you how to learn
- Teaches and encourages respect for other peoples
- Contributes to cultural awareness and literacy, such as knowledge of original texts
- Builds practical skills — for travel or commerce or as a tool for other disciplines
- Improves the knowledge of your own language through comparison and contrast with the foreign language.
- Exposes you to modes of thought outside of your native language
- Gives you a sense of relevant past, both cultural and linguistic
- Balances content and skill (rather than content versus skill)
- Expands opportunities for meaningful leisure activity (travel, reading, viewing foreign language films)
- Contributes to achievement of national goals, such as economic development or national security
- Contributes to the creation of your personality
- Enables the transfer of training
- Preserves (or fosters) a country's image as a cultured nation
Adapted from Alan C. Frantz, "Seventeen Values of Foreign Language Study" (ADFL Bulletin, vol. 28, Nr.1, Fall 1996).