Perhaps you've considered adding a foreign language as a minor or double-major to supplement your main focus of study. Instead of asking yourself if this is right for you, ask why not.
In all seriousness, taking up a language can do wonders for your resume and practical abilities. Concordia University Wisconsin happens to offer options in Spanish, German, and Biblical languages. Knowing a foreign tongue is so much more than just a feather in your cap, and Concordia can give you the perfect outlet to study and broaden your horizons.
Here are five reasons you should consider studying a foreign language at CUW.
1) The demand for multi-lingual workers
According to the New American Economy, demand for bilingual workers in the United States has more than doubled in the past five years. This includes a wide range of positions within an even broader range of fields. For international business majors, it’s only natural to add another language to your repertoire. Consider German for instance- Germany makes up Europe’s largest economy and its language provides the highest median U.S. salary among jobs that require the ability to use a second language. Spanish is the leading language of all Latin American economies and is the most in demand for U.S. employers of all jobs. In short, you should pick up a language to put yourself ahead of the pack.
2) Broaden your world-view
I don’t have to tell you that there are other cultures outside our country, and even just our own state. By taking a foreign language you will also learn about the history, culture, and current events of the countries they’re spoken in. Being more aware of other nations will give you a bigger picture of God’s creation and people. Our own Prof. Anna Jaehnert poses the question: “If we cannot understand each other through language, how can we expect to understand each other in any other capacity?” You will also find that every language is unique and has its own merits for describing our world. This is something you just have to experience. So choose a language- Spanish, Hebrew, Latin, whatever you fancy. As they say in Germany, Es ist mir alle Würst- it’s all sausage to me!
3) Improve your understanding of English
Yes, you read that right- and you read it in English too. Learning the grammar and conventions of another language gives you the building blocks of ours. There are some things your English classes didn’t have time to teach. So become informed on what language is made of and how it is used correctly. If you decide to take up a foreign language class, I promise you will gain a new awareness of just what you’re saying.
Can you imagine visiting another country and being able to use its native tongue? You can definitely add to your experience by connecting with locals and conversing with them. Whether you know a little or know a lot, practicing what you’ve studied and seeing it come to fruition is incredibly rewarding. You can pick up on the information around you in the home language and learn so much more. CUW’s foreign language majors all include the opportunity to study abroad in an area of your focus, and let me tell you, immersion really is the best way to learn a language. Learning a new vernacular may come more naturally than you think. Concordia’s classes are well prepared to teach students of all levels, making the task very approachable. You may surprise yourself when you know enough that you feel like you can enter a whole new country and feel at home.
5) Clubs and Cultural Groups
You will make many friends in your pursuit of studying a foreign language. There’s something very satisfying about being in a group as unique as a foreign language class or club. CUW’s Latin, Spanish, and German clubs for instance are great small groups with good company, where not only can you practice your skills and engage in culturally meaningful activities, but meet friends and talk about anything. Our foreign language departments are not just effective, but also made of a fantastic community. This is vital for your college experience, and being bilingual moving forward is quite the added bonus.
If we cannot understand each other through language, how can we expect to understand each other in any other capacity? —Professor Anna Jaehnert
— Kai Goldenstein is a student writer and junior year Social Work major, minoring in German
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