Federico Fellini, an Italian film director and screenwriter, once said “A different language is a different vision of life”. Language is in fact an essential part of family, culture, and humanity. The language we speak molds the way we think and makes us see the world in a completely different perspective. As we learn more languages, our vocabulary expands, and we can understand the world much better. Some people believe that learning foreign languages will be beneficial and useful while others believe that it is time consuming and troublesome for students.
Some people strongly believe that learning a foreign language should be compulsory for students as it would lead to many advantages in the long run, like getting into a good university and having a wider range of career choices. Being bilingual, or even multilingual, will help to master a student’s communication and social skills, allowing them to interact with more people. Knowledge of a foreign language is also valuable and beneficial in businesses as people can communicate with various countries worldwide. Furthermore, studies have shown that the salary increases for one who is able to communicate and interact in common languages such as Spanish or German.
Experts who have studied this topic have found that learning a foreign language at a young age improves the functionality of the brain by challenging it to recognize and communicate in various language systems. Obtaining a foreign language also improves students’ memory, increases their attention span and enhances their problem solving skills; therefore, bilingual students tend to score higher on exams. This skill will also allow students to stand out in university admission processes.
Language differs from country to country, culture to culture and religion to religion. Learning a new language can improve our understanding about a particular country and their way of life. Learning a language is like learning the behaviour of the society and its cultural customs. To fully understand one’s culture, we have to learn their language directly as every language is ingrained in culture. Moreover, research shows that after a student learns a new language, they retain the muscle memory and the brain will naturally understand how to learn a language and how languages are structured.
However, there are some drawbacks of learning a foreign language. The most common one being the difficulty of the language. Some people believe that learning a foreign language can be quite a challenge. Numerous languages have distinct systems of grammar and different alphabets as well. This can also be very troublesome for certain students who want to focus on other subjects. Learning a new language can take up to two months or even a couple of years, but it all depends on whether or not the student is dedicated and responsible.
Secondly, learning a foreign language will not be useful for some students, specifically for those who cannot afford to travel, or those who are not interested in visiting other countries around the world. In addition, learning a new language will not be beneficial and helpful in some careers and some languages such as Greek and Sanskrit, are not spoken very often. Some students might decide to pursue their higher education in their own country, therefore, they should be able to choose if they want to learn a new language or not.
Another common reason people believe that it should not be compulsory to learn a foreign language is because of the cost. Learning a foreign language is very expensive, such as taking university courses or for private tutoring. Moreover, studying a foreign language requires a significant amount of time, energy, and money. Instead of putting in a lot of effort to learn a new language, one could be studying for other major subjects, such as maths or science, spending more time with family, or performing other outdoor activities.
I strongly believe that learning a foreign language should not be compulsory, as the decision completely depends on the student and whether or not it will be beneficial for their future. Learning a new language can be very time consuming, and it can affect their academic grades. If the language will not be helpful in the long run, then students should be able to focus on what they want to learn instead of wasting their time on learning something that will not be useful.
Students should be able to choose if they want to learn a foreign language. By making it optional, students who are interested would still have the opportunity to learn a new language if they choose to improve their understanding of language and culture, and to look at things in a different perspective. Therefore, it should not be compulsory for students to learn a foreign language, but if some students are genuinely interested in acquiring new languages, they should be able to do so.