The benefits of any world language education program are numerous and widespread. Learning a second or third language has led to improvements in many different ways, including those that are directly correlated to a student’s success as an adult. Understanding other languages and cultures can:
- build cultural sensitivity and intercultural relations,
- develop basic skills,
- lead to higher standardized test scores,
- improve cognitive development,
- benefit critical thinking,
- provide employment opportunities,
- facilitate travel,
- and lead to higher pay.
If the goal of any educational system is to produce well-rounded and productive members of society, it goes without saying that world language education is an integral part of the process. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that routinely graduates students from high school with knowledge of only one language. We cannot send students into the world as monolinguals and feel confident that, with its ever-growing global interconnectedness, they will be economically secure or culturally aware.
Competence in other languages is no longer frivolous; it is fundamental.