Have you ever said: “I’m never going to use this in the real world?” Some classes might give you that impression, but Bonnie Frederick, chairwoman of the Spanish department at TCU, said she believes foreign language classes will be useful for a lifetime.In the increasingly global society, it is becoming more important and necessary for people to know more than one language, Frederick said. In Texas, 3.4 million people speak Spanish to some degree, according to the IMAC Spanish Language Programs Web site.
Foreign language classes teach not only the language, but also cultural sensitivity and analytical thinking for future use of the language. According to the TCU Factbook, the number of undergraduate students enrolled in foreign language classes has grown from 6,933 in 2004 to 7,154 in 2005.
Frederick said there are three reasons why students are becoming interested in foreign language studies: parents are encouraging them to take language classes, students are becoming more aware of their importance in the global society and graduates/friends tell students of the usefulness of knowing another language.
Sara Rozzell, a senior math major and Spanish minor, said, “My knowledge of Spanish can really help me, especially teaching in Texas, to communicate with Spanish-speaking parents.”
Erin Haynes, a senior French major, said she wanted to be fluent in another language and knows it’s an important skill that employers recognize.
As students graduate and grow older, they travel abroad for business or vacation, making their language studies both practical and personal. Frederick said more fulfillment comes out of a trip when the travelers are able to enjoy talking with the native speakers.
Haynes said once she is able to travel, she can use her skill of being fluent in two languages to be able to get around.
Frederick said knowledge of another language is useful, for professional reasons, but also because it provides a lifetime of pleasure.