Becoming Bilingual: The Best Languages to Learn in College

One of the best ways broaden your horizons while in college—not to mention add some serious credentials to your resume—is to master a foreign language. It doesn’t matter what field you’re planning on going into, the globalized world needs polyglots. So, what language should you study? If you don’t already have a language in mind, hopefully this list will help you out. Below, we’ll share four of the best languages to learn in the 21st century and explain our reasoning behind each choice.

Spanish

A recent PEW research poll showed that there are 37 million Hispanic Spanish speakers in the USA today. That number is only expected to grow to 40 million by 2020. Excellent Spanish skills are already essential for anyone trying to get ahead in the American job market. Even American doctors are required to learn a bit of Spanish nowadays. Luckily for you, Spanish is a Romance language, which means it’s based on the Latin alphabet and shares many words with English. Plus, once you’ve mastered Spanish, you could travel to amazing cities like Barcelona, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires and talk with the locals. In case you were wondering, there are 570 million Spanish speakers around the world.

Chinese

Emperor Napoleon once said, “China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.” Well, China has most certainly arisen from her slumber, and her “roar” is almost deafening. Within just a few decades, this most populous Asian nation has become the second largest economy in the world and a major power in global politics. Roughly 1.2 billion people around the world speak Chinese as their first language, which makes it one of the most popular language in the world. Having a good understanding of Chinese can only help you if you’re serious about getting involved in fields like business, travel, or politics.

Unfortunately for you, the American Foreign Institute lists Chinese as one of the most difficult languages for English-speakers to learn. Although it will take you a great deal of time and effort to pick up the tones and stroke orders, at least Chinese grammar is extremely similar to English! As you might already know, Mandarin is the standardized Beijing-style Chinese, so it’s best to pick up this dialect first before moving on to Cantonese.

American Sign Language

Studying American Sign Language (ASL) is a perfect choice for anyone going into fields like nursing, communications, or special education. Ever since it was created in the 19th century, ASL has been incredibly important for empowering people with hearing difficulties. There’s no official statistic for the number of ASL speakers out there, but most estimates put the number above 250,000. ASL fluency will certainly help you stand out from the crowd in your job applications. If you’ve struggled with accents or rolling r’s in oral languages, then perhaps it’s time for you to try out ASL!

The Language of Your Ancestors

Although many people in America have blood ties to exotic lands far, far away, most families lose their foreign tongue within a few generations. What better time to reconnect with your past than in a college like Interactive College of Technology—and what better way than by learning a foreign language in your bloodline? Although learning a language in your ancestral line might not be “profitable” in the business sense, there are some things in this world you just can’t put a price tag on.

After you’ve finished learning your new language in a college, it’s time for you to get some real-world experience. One of the most common ways people test their language skills after college is by teaching English abroad. Within a few weeks living in a foreign country, you’ll be amazed how much quicker you pick up your chosen language in one month compared with four years of schooling. Plus, you’ll get the added benefits of helping locals learn English…and earning some cash to pay off those crazy student loans. Definitely consider getting an ESL certification from an accredited school during or after college graduation to enhance your chances of employment.

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