We live in a multilingual, multi-cultural society, and the study of world languages and cultures is seen as a basic element of a sound education. Besides the traditional professions in which a world language is the primary skill, there are many others in which it is a secondary skill, especially in the field of business. Seventy percent of U.S. firms report that second language skills are important. Commercially and politically, we interact with people whose native language is not English.
In its brochure "World languages and your career," the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that world languages are a secondary skill in various fields, including tourism, marketing, finance, journalism, and engineering. The U.S. government is the largest single employer of men and women with world language skills.
Many colleges require world language courses for admission. Since most students do not know which college they will attend until their senior year, the study of a world language is a good insurance policy. Many colleges which do not require world language for admission do require it for graduation.
Some universities, like IU, require that students entering certain programs demonstrate proficiency in a world language. If a student cannot demonstrate proficiency, the student must take remedial world language courses for which no college credit is given. World language students and English teachers agree that studying a world language can help improve English skills, as students benefit from a greater vocabulary and a deeper awareness of communication.
Research has established a definite link between second language learning and improved basic skills. Studies have also shown that world language study can have a positive effect on SAT scores. Studying a world language helps students learn about the rest of the world. After studying a world language, students have a better understanding and appreciation of the way people live, think, and feel in other cultures.