Spanish requirement beneficial to college-bound students

It is a well-known and state mandated fact among any hopeful graduate no four-year university in Oregon will accept an applicant without at least two high school years’ or two community college semesters’ worth of foreign language credits. However, as most Marshfield students will instantly realize, the only foreign language currently taught on the MHS campus is Spanish, taught in a four-part series of year-long courses gradually escalating in complexity. Though some may complain about the limited linguistic selection, there is good reason why, of all the languages known to mankind, Spanish is the one Marshfield students are being educated on.
Many people have heard the rumor of Hispanics outnumbering the white population in America. Well, it is not true (with the possible exceptions of California and New Mexico). But it should be taken into consideration Hispanics are one of the fastest growing minority populations, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey, about three of every 20 Americans are Hispanic. Spanish is also the second most common language in the U.S. and is becoming more and more important to know. Most jobs generally require at least some degree of social interaction, and though some may try, it is extremely difficult to go through life completely avoiding other humans. Having a better understanding of both how languages work and being fluent in more than one are valuable skills which can aid in communication skills most employees must draw upon at some time or another.

There is additionally the distinct possibility of being the foreign entity in another country. Travel is a great experience which helps broaden horizons and expose people to new experiences. But traveling to foreign countries is a much more enjoyable experience when the traveler can actually understand what the local residents are saying. There are 21 Spanish-speaking nations worldwide. From flying to Europe for the sight-seeing in Spain or popping down to Mexico for a family trip, it is important to be able to appreciate the local culture. Travel is about learning new things, meeting new people, and a change of scenery! Wanting to leave for a foreign country without even bothering to study up on the language its citizens speak simply does not make sense.

The world is a vastly more multicultural place than it used to be. Advanced and more efficient means of transportation than were available in the past shuttle people of all types over various borders, and modern technologies allow for a virtual melting pot of different languages and cultures. Wallowing in the stagnant waters of one’s self-imposed ignorance is simply not acceptable, and places of advanced learning know and embrace this. Though some students may grouse about the two years of Spanish they feel are unfairly forced upon them, it is important to recognize just how vital a basic understanding of foreign languages is, and those two years of Spanish are a good place to start.  The world is a big, big place with an ever-increasing amount of people, and not all of them are going to speak English. Not all of them are going to speak Spanish, either; so by all means, go above and beyond in linguistic studies.

Language is a perpetual constant among humans, one of the key elements which separate man from beast. Though it binds cultures together, it is foolish to expect the world to bend for one specific dialect which happens to be convenient for certain people. Limiting oneself solely to the language of their cramped little corner of the world or assuming direly minimal awareness of the various civilizations and societies existing apart from their own is sufficient and is the height of arrogance. Yes, students really should take those pesky two years of Spanish.