To learn a foreign language or not to learn?

More and more DU students are starting to become interested in learning languages. At the same time, University of Denver provides a variety of programs to suit DU students’ need. DU is doing so because it believes that studying different cultures through foreign languages are crucial in this globalization era, according to the website of DU language and literature department.

According to the language and Literature department, French, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese are the four growing languages that students are eager to know. In order to meet the needs, University of Denver provides classes from different levels. No matter what level their language skill is, DU students can always find the class they want.

Lots of students benefit from the Language programs of DU.

Xiao Tan, a third year student double majoring in psychology and communication, is one of them She has been taking French since last year.

“Many of my friends can speak several languages, some of them grew up in a bilingual or trilingual family,” said Tan“When I was kid, my parents only speak Chinese to me, and at school, we have to learn English because there is no choice. English is the second language for most of the schools in China, so when I have chance to learn a third language, I definitely take this chance. Why not, right?”

Open doors: more opportunities

She said another reason that she enjoyed learning a third language is because learning a language opens so many doors for her.

“I enjoy living in the US, experiencing culture differences and making friends with people from all over the world,”she said “I am having fun when I with them.”

Tan adds that, “ It is interesting to look back, especially the time when I just started learning English. I wasn’t really into it.”

Ultimately, she said she is “glad that I am keep learning English, so when the opportunity came, I would take it easily.”

She smiles and said,“ There are many Chinese students want to come to the States each year, the reason keep them out of the American college is the language barrier.if they could pass the TOEFL (the English language test), they will come here for sure.”
Because of the foreign influence and the American has ceded manufacturing power to China, an American degree remains the gold standard of educational prestige, according to Education News.

Lauren Richardson, a former student of DU, whose major is international studies, graduated during the winter, when the environment of weather and economy are on the same degree.

“ To be honest, I was a little bit of overwhelmed of graduation,” she said

“I don’t know my plan after graduation, but luckily, some of my friends told me that if you have language skills in your education background, it is easier to get a job.”

She said.and at the same time, she was looking at a website that list jobs that need language skill.

“I did take advantage of DU’s language learning program. I started to learn Chinese at DU, and I loved it. I spent four weeks in Beijing one summer and I went to back to Beijing with DU study abroad program.” She said and showed me the pictures that she took in China “It is great that I could learn a language and have fun at the same time.” She added.

Faculty Perspective:

“The reason why we want students to learn foreign language is because it is necessary and important for them to know the outside of the world.” Said Hujie Zhang, a senior lecturer, developer and Co-coordinator of Chinese section of DU language & literature department.

“We want our students graduate from school with handful skill.” Said Hujie Zhang, “Some skill that they could use right away.” She added.

Trends in learning a foreign language among Universities and Colleges

According to a recent report that conducted by Columbia University, it states that more college and university students are studying foreign languages than ever before.

However, the proportion of college students enrolled in foreign language courses fell by half between 1960 and 2002, from 16 percent to 8 percent. Just 10,000 college students are currently studying Arabic and only 40,000, Chinese.

A long-term perspective, from past three decades, the statistic of multiple universities show an actual decline in the proportion of college students taking foreign languages other than Spanish. French and Germen are considered as the two languages that number shows decline the most.

However, college students taking Chinese also more than doubled between 1998 and 2009 to 60,976 students, according to a study by the Modern Language Association.


2 Responses to To learn a foreign language or not to learn?

  • Rhianna Dow
    Rhianna Dow says:

    Well written article! I definitely agree thsat learning a second (or third!) language is beneficial because it gives you so many more opportunities, especially in the future. I think learning a second language has always been a positive thing. But as we are becoming a more and more globalized society, more jobs are requiring or viewing it as an even better thing.

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