The world has become a smaller, more connected place than ever before. All the latest technologies can gather people together electronically from just about anywhere. Traveling abroad and working with companies in foreign countries has become common. There are many challenges at play that keep the world separated, but the language barrier can be a major issue in embracing global opportunities.
Learning a second language can open doors to many opportunities. It can provide ways to connect with people of different cultures and offer support and service. It can enhance one’s choices for employment opportunities from simple translating to complex business negotiations. Speaking a foreign language can be a game-changer and a definite resume enhancement.
BYU represents a microcosm of the world at large with students reflecting a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds. Because a majority of students dedicate up to two years of service during their college years sharing their faith with others around the world, 65% of students speak a second language. In addition, 131 languages are spoken on campus and 63 languages are taught regularly.
Students can also engage with any of the 229 study abroad programs available in 80 different countries. There are ample ways BYU students can connect with people of other cultures and learn their native language. Along with the many traditional courses offered, there are also many online language programs that offer specialized training. Some also offer student discounts and individual lessons.
Learning a new language may seem like a daunting task, but the benefits of knowing how to communicate with people who speak another language definitely outweigh the challenges. So if you are one of the 35% of students at BYU that does not already speak a second language, now is the time to learn.