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Educational value of foreign language

Educational value of foreign language

The educational value of learning a foreign language is in the increased opportunity for adult learners regarding their professional, personal, and economic career goals. In today’s global economy, non-multilingual communication and collaboration limits a person’s ability to conduct business or communicate with others around the world. The significance of learning another language is the support it provides adult learners in achieving career objectives.

Remaining monolingual also places adult learners in situations in which they must rely on others to translate for them in readings, writings, meetings, and conversations. This dependence limits their ability and value because of their inability to communicate in a second language. As globalization shrinks the world, it is important for adults to be competent in more than one language.

Employment Opportunities: Improving Potential

Many types of employers seek employees with multilingual capabilities, examples include:

  • multiple government agencies
  • travel industry
  • engineering
  • educational field
  • international law
  • public policy
  • advertising

Knowledge of a second language opens doors to additional employment opportunities, increased chances of a higher salary, and sets a potential employee apart from others competing for the same job.

Continuing Education: Planning to Continue Studies

Many colleges and universities require completion of one or more foreign language courses prior to earning a degree. This is especially true for undergraduate majors in the arts and humanities, natural sciences, behavioral sciences, social sciences, and many business degrees.

Some graduate school degree programs not only require a second language, these programs sometimes require a third language for admission. Graduate programs such as mathematics, anthropology, biology, and history require knowledge of the foreign language related to the field of study.

Selected doctoral programs also require knowledge of a second language because of the extensive research required in completing primary research and dissertations. This requirement is due to many primary research resources being published in non-English language books and professional journals.

Considering globalization, mobility, and communication learning a second language is critical to becoming or remaining competitive in today’s workforce. So even if a program does not require completion of a foreign language course, completion of a second language course is vital.

Study Abroad Programs: Improving Educational Opportunities

Few continuing education students take advantage of study abroad programs. However, there is intense competition for entry into programs in countries where English is the native language. Many adult learners avoid non-English speaking countries for study abroad programs, due to concern for grades and cultural differences.

However, study abroad in non-English speaking countries provides adult learners with the opportunity to become fully immersed in the selected language and culture. This immersion assists in learning the language beyond textbook knowledge level.

Companies seek employees with specific foreign language skills and prize their valuable experience in a study abroad program. These potential employees bring important knowledge gained through everyday application of a language with native speakers, along with a greater understanding of a country’s culture.

Life Skills: Improving Learning and Creativity

Studying a foreign language improves an adult learner’s ability to adapt to an every changing global economy. Learning a second language improves an adult’s capability in reading, writing, and math. Adults have also shown increased cognitive ability through mental flexibility, higher order thinking skills, problem solving, conceptualization, and reasoning (Study Abroad 101, Wendy Williamson, 2008).

The study of foreign languages often leads to the attainment of important life skills. Because foreign language learners learn to deal with unfamiliar cultural ideas, they learn to effectively handle new situations. Learning a second language also improves an adult learner’s ability to understand and communicate with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

Making Connections: Educational Value of a Second Language

Learning a foreign language increases the educational value of any continuing education program. Adult students learning a second language learn to effectively communicate with others around the world in support of a global economy, mobility, and developing an increased appreciation of cultural differences.

Employment opportunities increase for these adults, because employers seek potential employees with knowledge of both a second language and the associated culture. To effectively integrate a foreign language a continuing education requires thought and planning, along with lifelong learning and career success.

Learning & Studying French Abroad

A popular – and very effective – way of learning French is to go to a French city such as Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse or Marseille and enrolling in a language school. Courses of various lengths are available, from four week crash courses and three month beginner packages to year-long university-based learning.

It may seem a drastic step to go abroad in order to learn languages, when it is easy enough to do a school qualifications or attend night classes in your own country, but going abroad is undoubtedly a more effective way to pick up conversational and business French.

Learning & Studying French Abroad – More Intensive Courses

There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that courses abroad tend to be more intensive. Whilst at home, a French language course may see students having one or two lessons a week, spending one to five hours in the classroom environment, at a French language school in France it will be learning on a daily basis, with three or four hours a day spent in the classroom.

Therefore, the amount of French students will subjected to in Lille, Strasbourg or Metz will be far higher than the amount subjected to in London, New York or Sydney.

Learning & Studying French Abroad – Everyday Transactions, Newspapers and Television

The other reason is that by living in the country whilst learning and studying French, the environment will be French – there’s no studying for a few hours then going home and speaking English for the rest of the week. If based at a language school in the Alps, Normandy or Brittany, everyday transactions need to be conducted in French, newspapers and television are in French and shop signs and restaurant menus are in French – it can’t be avoided. In such an environment, it is much easier to pick up more of the language, and use it on a conversational basis. There is also a far better chance of picking up colloquial slang and idiomatic expressions.