Why More Students Should Learn a New Language
“Learning a new language is a wonderful benefit in a globalized world,” according to Why You Should Learn a Second Language by Middlebury Language Schools.
Research has proven that learning another language can improve your memory, increase one’s ability to multitask, and improve your efficiency in other academic areas.
OCCC Spanish Profesor Ginnett Rollins stated that on tests, like the SAT, she was able to answer vocabulary questions over words she had never seen in the English language.
“I think research has shown that the best way to improve your SAT scores is to study four years of the same language. It is valuable to anyone who is trying to actually improve their test taking skills for the SAT. I was able to answer questions about vocabulary that I’ve never seen in my life in English. But I said, ‘In Spanish it’s this and in French it’s that, I’m going to choose letter C.’ And I know I got it right,” Rollins said.
Spanish is the “world’s second most spoken language,” according to 10 reasons why you should learn and speak Spanish on Donquijote.org.
Learning a new language can open many doors filled with opportunities. In graduate school, Prof. Rollins taught Spanish at her university, which is how she got her start in teaching.
“There was a graduate student in French, it was a roommate at OU, and she said to me, ‘Why don’t you just apply for graduate school and ask for a fellowship?’ I’m like, ‘What?’ she said, ‘Yeah, they’ll let you teach Spanish in the university,’” Rollins said.
Being bilingual can also help when it comes to careers. Prof. Rollins said if one is in business and they learn Spanish, they can expand to the Spanish speaking side of the city.
“A language is often used almost as a good adjunct, a good addition to another career,” she stated.
Paige Montgomery, a pre-law student at the University of Oklahoma, is studying Spanish to help further her career goals once she graduates.
In high school, she had the option of either taking technology or Spanish.
“It kinda wasn’t not much of a choice. It was either that or technology and I thought out of the two, the one that would be more useful for me in the field that I’m going into would be Spanish, because I can talk to more people,” Montgomery stated.
While other countries may question why Americans don’t speak multiple languages, Rollins explained it has to do with geography.
“Geography is different. If we spoke Italian in Kansas, and French in Arkansas, and German in Texas, and some Portuguese over in Colorado, and Chinese over in New Mexico, then we would be multilingual,” she said.
As for the future of the Spanish language, Rollins said there is a need for Spanish language education.
“As far as the teaching area, I think there’ll always be a need for an environment that involves the classmates and the instructor and actually really making progress and learning to speak,” Rollins said.
Montgomery said the thing she enjoys the most about the Spanish language is “being able to speak to more people.”
“This guy at work, he’s our dishwasher, I asked him how he was. I said ‘¿Cómo estás?’ and he looked at me and he was like, “You surprised me. Most people don’t try to speak to me in my language,’” she said.
Montgomery said it was an awesome feeling to know she could communicate with her coworker in his first language.
Montgomery stated, “I think everyone should have the opportunity to,” when talking about learning another language. She stated, “Being able to speak it to someone and being able to flip that switch in your brain, it’s just an amazing feeling. Everyone should get the opportunity to experience that.”