Every student at Barnstable High School and nationwide will or already has been exposed to a world language. Whether they are in their first year or taking it at the AP level, world language is paramount to success in the modern world. In order to graduate, two credits of the same world language are mandatory. Barnstable High offers four options: Latin, Mandarin Chinese, French and Spanish.
“There are levels of proficiency when taking foreign language. First level you learn the basics, like learning how to say ‘my name is so and so’, the second level you learn to speak and put words into sentences. The more you study the more you know.” said World Languages department head Grace Lytle.
Taking these courses have many benefits, such as boosting brain power, improving memory, and enhancing performance in other learning areas, according to etoninstitute.com.
“It’s helped me make a lot of good friends and make relationships with people who speak foreign languages,” said junior Anna Prchlik who is currently taking French III. “My sister is very interested in French and I thought it’d be fun to be able to speak with her.”
Another benefit to taking a foreign language in high school is that students stand out more to colleges. Two years of a world language is considered the minimum to many universities, with most recommending three or four years, even AP if that is an option at your school. Colleges like to see students challenge themselves, so most colleges will not be impressed if a study hall is chosen over a language course according to thoughtco.com.
Job opportunities are abundant for those who can speak more than one language. “Four out of five jobs are based on foreign trade. Many practices such as law and medicine have a Latin foundation. The more languages you have in your pocket, the more valuable you are to your employer,” said Lytle. Between the years 2010 and 2015, jobs for people who are bilingual more than doubled, according to leadwithlanguages.org. Being bilingual is helpful in many occupations such as journalists, translators, flight attendants, social workers, marketing managers and even teaching.
If you plan on doing any traveling in your lifetime, learning a second language can be very beneficial to you as well. Being bilingual is not only proven to expand brain growth but it boosts cross-cultural understanding. “Learning another language helps dissolve boundaries between people and communities. It helps create a healthy space.” said French teacher Madame Mimi “In year three and four we organize a trip to France. French students make friends for life and many meet their very first international friends there.”
France, Italy, China and Cuba are just a few places our school has organized trips for students in their third or fourth year. But don’t worry – a trip to Quebec is organized for 8th graders and freshman, and first year Latin students are allowed to attend Classics day at Boston University.
“It’s helped me communicate with people who have different characteristics and how they live. It helps me figure people out.” said Prchlik.
Communication is vital to keeping the world connected while learning how to improve yourself at the very same time. It can give people a glimpse into how other people live in this world. “It can widen your social potential with people you wouldn’t normally interact with if you only knew one language,” said Mimi.
As for the future of world language at BHS, Lytle hopes the department expands outside of the high school. “I’m hoping at some point we do kindergarten through 12th grade. It is easier to teach language from a younger age. It is important for us to understand culture and language,” said Lytle.