Viewpoint: Eight Foreign Language Opportunities Available At UWL

Rachel Mergen, Staff Reporter

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According to The Insider, the most popular language other than English in Wisconsin is Spanish, with 248,533 people speaking the foreign tongue. Hmong and German come next in the rankings, with 46,243 people and 32,715 people respectively. With such knowledge in mind, it is understandable why Spanish is one of the most popular languages to learn.  

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse offers almost forty classes in the Spanish department, drawing many students in with interesting options including film, literature, and theater courses.  

Spanish is beneficial for students to learn, as it allows for communication with a large group of people within the local area, but the university is also proud to offer eight foreign languages in total and teaching certifications to go along with them.  

Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hmong, Japanese, and Russian are the other languages waiting to be enjoyed at the university. Though they may not seem to be the most useful in daily life, they can be useful over the years. 

On LinkedIn, Loise Dherbecourt, a native French speaker who has worked to learn three additional languages, explained in an article how foreign languages can add a spark to resumes that may be lacking in other places or that just need to be pushed a little farther.  

She stated the reasons include, “you can be taken into consideration even without experience,” “languages help to climb the professional ladder, to conquer new markets, to gain sustainable relationships with partners,” “you can have better opportunities at work, better tasks,” and “you can understand other cultures and promote yours.”  

If learning a language that may be a little less popular than Spanish, students have the chance to stand out over those who know commonly learned languages.  

Taking the time to learn a variety of foreign languages also enables the student to be more prepared to travel. At least trying to speak a language may seem like a compliment to those who are being visited, instead of expecting them to understand English. With much diversity in the world, it cannot be expected that everyone met will know Spanish or English. 

With many students required to take foreign language to receive the degrees they are working for, it is important to take the opportunity to try a language that might not seem to be the obvious choice. If Spanish raises a student’s interest, they should immerse themselves in the language and culture, but if not, no one should feel required to just because it’s the second most common language in the state.  

No fear should be felt towards embracing the foreign tongues of lands thousands of miles away, even if the new vocabulary may not be used every day.  

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