Why learn a foreign language?

Why learn a foreign language?

“… [E]ffective communication and successful negotiations with a foreign partner–whether with a partner in peacekeeping, a strategic economic partner, a political adversary, or a non-English speaking contact in a critical law enforcement action–requires strong comprehension of the underlying cultural values and belief structures that are part of the life experience of the foreign partner.” – Dr. Dan Davidson, President of the American Councils on International Education

“A different language is a different vision of life.” – Federico Fellini, Italian film director

“No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian nationalist and spiritual leader

Learning another language gives the learner 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. Why is this important? In a world where nations and peoples are ever more dependent upon on another to supply goods and services, solve political disputes, and ensure international security, understanding other cultures is paramount. Lack of intercultural sensitivity can lead to mistrust and misunderstandings, to an inability to cooperate, negotiate, and compromise, and perhaps even to military confrontation.

Intercultural understanding begins with individuals who have language abilities and who can thereby provide one’s own nation or community with an insider’s view into foreign cultures, who can understand foreign news sources, and give insights into other perspectives on international situations and current events. For survival in the global community, every nation needs such individuals. A person competent in other languages can bridge the gap between cultures, contribute to international diplomacy, promote national security and world peace, and successfully engage in international trade.

Read more > 10 Reasons

Emma Tidey
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