Take foreign language because of personal interest, not to fulfill requirements

Dana Shefet, Editor-In-Chief

Although many universities do not have a foreign language high school credit requirement, it is strongly recommended at numerous four-year colleges that prospective students take at least two years worth of classes. In fact, every school in the North Carolina Public University System requires a foreign language credit in order to be considered for admission, while some strongly encourage three or more years. Whether or not a student decides to explore the culture of another language should be their own choice. The decision should not be a “requirement,” forcing an individual to study a subject he has no interest in.

Athens Drive offers French, Latin and Spanish as foreign elective courses. Each class emphasizes the importance of mastering the specific language. Not only does a student have to understand the basics of conjugating a few simple verbs, he must learn how to speak, listen, and write in the language effectively.

True enjoyment of learning comes from the desire to further one’s personal expansion of intellect. A student will not master the culture of another language if he is obligated to do so in order to be considered for higher education. Foreign language is a subject that is very diverse and requires dedication, high level memorization, and a form of comprehension that requires more effort to completely master. If a student is not invested in learning the language, the task could be very challenging and maybe even impossible.

However, this freedom of no restrictions should not go as far as to suggest that learning foreign languages should be less studied and is less important than other required courses for consideration into higher level education. Learning the basics of another language can only provide benefits in communication, a student’s future workplace and pads one’s resume nicely.

Grasping the importance of the diversity of our world is an essential skill every college-bound individual should acquire. If a student truly is not interested in the benefits that learning foreign languages offer, such as future job opportunities and bonuses, then he should not be forced to study this subject. A person must decide for himself if he should spend the time to learn another language.

Many students, like myself, are fortunate enough to come from bilingual households where a second language was taught from an early age and can read, write, and speak another language almost as well as if not at the same level as English. Although Hebrew is not offered at Athens Drive, is it fair to force me to take a different foreign language class to receive my required credit just because the language I learned growing up is not offered in my high school? This is not the only case of unfair treatment in foreign language classes. Sitting in my Spanish 1 class sophomore year, I was surrounded by native Spanish- speakers, who were miserably bored. These students were sitting in a class where they were learning the very basics I could not imagine what it must feel like to live through a full year relearning pre-school level information about a language that is one’s second nature.

By forcing students to take foreign language courses, students are being stripped of the opportunity of taking additional classes in fields in which they are interested and could gain more valuable skills. Top notch translators will be composed of students who are eager to learn the language, not kids who were forced to take the class by means of graduating high school.