ASU’s School of International Letters and Cultures gives students the opportunity to explore the world without leaving the classroom.
The school offers a vast variety of language courses for students to choose from. These courses expose students to foreign languages and cultures that enable them to understand and see the world in different ways.
Many students believe learning a new language is difficult and time-consuming, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Having the perseverance to learn a new language can open endless doors, even if it seems daunting at first.
Take ASU’s Spanish program, for example. Not only does it teach students to communicate effectively, but it offers an opportunity to dive into the culture and history surrounding the language.
ASU student Natalie Cole comes from a Spanish-speaking family. She is taking Spanish 316, Spanish Conversation and Composition for Bilinguals, this semester and believes that learning the language is extremely beneficial because it invites students to think critically and analytically and allows them to be more marketable to potential employers.
“Your brain is wired to be able to handle more complex subject matters than someone who only speaks one language,” she says.
Cole says she believes it’s important to maintain her Spanish to be able to prolong a connection with her family.
She says she feels “really good” that she is able to communicate with her mother and feel a connection while utilizing their native language.
Cole encourages bilingual students to take language classes in order to see their native language in a new perspective.
“Taking a Spanish class is a lot different than speaking Spanish at home,” she explains. “In the classroom, you learn all the grammar you wouldn’t necessarily learn at home. You learn about the language’s culture and are able to have a bigger understanding of everything behind the language.”
Overall, Cole says the courses improved her register of speaking, which enabled her to know when to alternate informal and formal speech depending on her audience.
Sergio Loza, a Spanish heritage instructor at ASU, says he wants students to realize the importance of the Spanish language. He believes that learning the language can benefit students economically and personally.
“We need to realize that languages are a national resource,” he says. “It shouldn’t be seen as another class that students have to take in order to complete their academic career.”
According to Loza, the United States is the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world due to the increase in immigration. He says taking Spanish courses can alter the perspective of how a student sees the world and how they see people in our country.
“It gives you a certain personal connection that monolingualism can’t give you,” he says.
Knowing more than one language, especially Spanish, can also make a person more valuable in the workforce and give them the chance to travel.
Tairi Battig, a Japanese student who is taking Spanish classes, says he feels a great accomplishment in learning the language. According to Battig, learning another language will increase his chance of working in a different country and making him more suitable for future employers.
“Learning a language allows you to expand your circle of communication as well as gaining an open mind,” he says. Battig also believes it’s important for people to learn a new language because it can help them sympathize with each other and resolve misunderstandings.
“One can judge other cultures because they do not understand them,” he says. “But once they learn why people act a certain way, they will start to appreciate them for who they are.”
Even though he finds learning the language to be difficult at times, Battig will still be planning to utilize his new interpersonal skills when he travels to Spanish speaking countries in the future.