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Why Learn a Foreign Language?

  1. To keep America strong
    “Language is a tool for economic competitiveness and national security. President George W. Bush pictured the American language deficit as a security issue. 'This issue deals with the defense of the country, the diplomacy of the country, the intelligence to defend our country and the education of our people,' he told a collection of university presidents in 2006.”~ Lewis Beale, “U.S. Students Hurting in Foreign Language.” 17 May 2010.
  2. To increase global understanding
    “Effective communication and successful negotiations with a foreign partner--whether with a partner in peacekeeping, a strategic economic partner, a political adversary, or a non-English speaking contact in a critical law enforcement action--requires strong comprehension of the underlying cultural values and belief structures that are part of the life experience of the foreign partner." ~ Dr. Dan Davidson, President of the American Councils on International Education
  3. To improve employment potential
    "[T]he English language alone is probably sufficient if all we need to do is buy our products abroad, if we need to purchase foreign goods and services. But when it comes to selling a product abroad, you have to understand the psychology and the belief structure of your client. If you are selling America abroad and telling America's story abroad [...] then you have to understand the value systems of that foreign public that you are speaking to."~ Dr. Dan Davidson, President of the American Councils on International Education
  4. To increase native language ability
    "Those who know nothing of foreign languages, knows nothing of their own." ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  5. To sharpen cognitive and life skills
    "We have strong evidence today that studying a foreign language has a ripple effect, helping to improve student performance in other subjects." ~ Richard Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education
  6. To improve chances of entry into graduate school
    “For those planning to continue on to graduate study in most any field, knowledge of a second and sometimes even a third language is often a prerequisite for admission. From mathematics to anthropology, from biology to art history, you will find that many if not most graduate programs require some kind of foreign language knowledge of their applicants. In some programs, graduate students are required to gain a reading knowledge of other languages as a degree requirement, especially in doctoral programs.” ~