How learning a second language will change your life for the better

Helen Rogalski, Managing Editor

The language requirements at UNC Wilmington are a common discussion among students. It seems as though most feel negatively towards having to complete a foreign language course at level 201 or higher. One thing most of us fail to realize, however, is the importance of doing so.

It is easy to complain about having to learn basic introductions and conversation starters in another language, but there is a bigger picture to hold on to. There is history, culture, influence and people behind every language of the world.

Learning another language can give anyone a broader perspective on the world, a better understanding of other people, places and things, and can be an incredible resume builder.

Every major language of the world is spoken by a large amount of people, spread across the world, in all different professions and industries. Knowing even just a little bit of another language can help with future work with companies, colleagues and industries that are international or have international ties.

We live in a day and age where the world is interconnected more than ever. International trade is booming, large companies are present on several continents and traveling far distances is easier than ever. We have access to so much more than our grandparents and great-grandparents ever did.

Valerie Rider, a Spanish professor here at UNCW, has emphasized that “it really means something in this world that you can get on a plane and in half a day be on the other side of the world.”

Many UNCW students go abroad at the start of each semester. It is great to see young people going out into the world and broadening their horizons. Most of us want to go abroad or learn a second language but are intimidated by it.

Professor Rider learned Spanish as her second language and hopes we all leave UNCW with a better understanding of foreign languages and their importance.

“You just don’t know where life is going to take you. You don’t know what doors are going to be open. But, a whole lot more opportunities will present themselves if you’re willing to give the study of a foreign language a chance,” said Rider.

The truth is that all of us are capable of learning a foreign language; it just takes a lot of hard work and determination. The foreign language requirement is present in all of our academic plans, so let’s pick languages we are truly interested in and actually try to learn them. It will only help our futures.