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Learn a language, any language

I would like to start this blog off with a phrase I once read from a superintendent of an Oregon school system.

“We are the only industrial country where kids don’t learn another language. We are out of line with the rest of the world in terms of second language instruction. Nationally, it’s a problem we’re not doing more.” Foreign languages are crucial not just for the purpose of communicating with people around the world. They are important because we need to know more about other nations’ and history to improve world relations”.

When I was growing up in India there was nothing else like it. We had to learn three languages, a regional , a national and an international . This was mandatory until I completed high school.

We see many different nationalities here in the US, hence it’s imperative to learn a second and if possible a third language at a young age.

An estimated 18.5 percent of US students in kindergarten through the 12th grade were enrolled in a second language class at school in 2007-08, according to a survey. That percentage has increased by only half a percent in the last 10 years.

The scarcity of second language instruction in US public schools isn’t likely to end any time soon.  Recent school budget cuts because of the recession have taken a toll on second language instruction.

When schools reduce expenses, second languages are often among the first targets for cuts, not only because of a lack of financial resources but also because federal and state governments have not made them a priority.

Today, it is not a luxury but a necessity to learn a second language. Learning a second language helps increase your global understanding. It gives you a different perspective, a different vision of life. I believe that no culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.

Learning another language will give you the ability to step inside the mind and context of that other culture. Without the ability to communicate and understand a culture on its own terms, true access to that culture is barred.

As globalization, mobility, and communications bring the world ever closer together, ever more urgent is the need for global citizens to be competent in other languages.

So pick a language, any language and open your eyes.