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Department of World Languages
25 Reasons to Study Foreign Languages

The Department of Foreign Language and Literatures has recently undergone a change of name to the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. This was done in an effort to shift towards a more inclusive tone that embraces the diversity that is core to our philosophy. You can find our new 25 Reasons page here.

  1. Foreign language study creates more positive attitudes and less prejudice toward people who are different.
  2. Analytical skills improve when students study a foreign language.
  3. Business skills plus foreign language skills make an employee more valuable in the marketplace.
  4. Dealing with another culture enables people to gain a more profound understanding of their own culture.
  5. Creativity is increased with the study of foreign languages.
  6. Graduates often cite foreign language courses as some of the most valuable courses in college because of the communication skills developed in the process.
  7. International travel is made easier and more pleasant through knowing a foreign language.
  8. Skills like problem solving and dealing with abstract concepts are increased when you study a foreign language.
  9. Foreign language study enhances one’s opportunities in government, business, medicine, law, technology, military, industry, marketing, and more.
  10. A second language improves your skills and grades in math and English and on the SAT and GRE.
  11. Four out of five new jobs in the US are created as a result of foreign trade.
  12. Foreign languages provide a competitive edge in career choices: one is able to communicate in a second language.
  13. Foreign language study enhances listening skills and memory.
  14. One participates more effectively and responsibly in a multi-cultural world if one knows another language.
  15. Your marketable skills in the global economy are improved if you master another language.
  16. Foreign language study offers a sense of the past—culturally and linguistically.
  17. The study of a foreign tongue improves the knowledge of one’s own language: English vocabulary skills increase.
  18. The study of foreign languages teaches and encourages respect for other people: it fosters an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature.
  19. Foreign languages liberalize one’s experiences and make one more flexible and tolerant.
  20. Foreign languages expand one’s world view and limit the barriers between people that cause distrust and fear.
  21. Foreign language study leads to an appreciation of cultural diversity.
  22. As immigration increases we need to prepare for changes in the American society.
  23. One is at a distinct advantage in the global market if one is as bilingual as possible.
  24. Foreign languages open the door to art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, film, philosophy, science and more.
  25. Foreign language study is simply part of a very basic liberal education: to “educate” is to lead out, to lead out of confinement, narrowness and darkness.

--Renate Latimer, Associate Professor Emerita of German

Others in our professions have developed similar lists, including Alan C. Frantz, “Seventeen Values of Foreign Language Study.” ADFL Bulletin 28.1 (1996): 44-49.