Study Abroad Student Handbook
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Center for Global Education

Why Learn a Language?

While abroad, you can't always rely on English to communicate. During your time abroad, you will probably use and practice another language by interacting with native speakers. Even a simple task like going to the market becomes a learning experience. You pick up subtleties, authentic accents and pronunciation, jokes, stories, and local phrases you never would have learned in a language class. Most of the time, you find you are learning new things without even trying; simply being surrounded by another language every day helps you absorb more than you think.

Another advantage besides language immersion is learning a new culture as well. Initial language learning opens up more opportunities to explore the literature, music, art, dance, and sports of other countries.

Also, total immersion makes you more marketable in the job world, even on an international level. After learning another language, you have an advantage over other job candidates. You have broadened your communication skills beyond English and many companies will value your newly acquired skills.

Aside from the job market, you may also use your earned language credit to add as a major or minor back at your U.S. home campus. You could also tutor or mentor other students who need assistance with the language you have learned.

Each program has its own specific language level requirements. Usually, you can tell how intensive a program's course of study will be based upon its required level of language proficiency. Language requirements range from no prior language instruction to high language level. Make sure to check the level of language your program requires, so that you can begin or continue learning another language abroad.

Aside from learning a country's official language, most countries also offer opportunities to learn other indigenous languages and/or different dialects. You may want to check to see if your study abroad program offers language instruction in such non-traditional or non-standard languages and dialects. The study of such languages will be beneficial for those interested in anthropology, linguistics, and national security, among other professions.

In short, learning another language creates global awareness, promotes international security, enhance academic learning, and develop leadership skills and career advancement, while experiencing personal growth.

Read on – Why Study Abroad and find answers how study abroad can affect your personal growth and career path.

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