Multilingualism enhances life

Benefits of speaking multiple languages abound.

What are you going to do after you graduate? What kind of career do you want? Which classes could help the most in any profession or field? It may be heavily debated, but in my opinion, it has to be a foreign language. Whether it be Spanish, German, French or Norwegian, proficiency in another language is one of the few things every potential employer appreciates.

With language courses at UND being on average four credits each, it is something that is recommended by most advisers. These classes fit into almost any schedule. I find it almost insane how many people don’t take a year or more of a language. It’s almost a necessity in the increasingly competitive job market.

When you graduate, you will probably be looking to start a career, not just to find another job. When looking at different areas of employment, there are very few that are strictly English. Knowing another language increases your marketability and increases the kind of positions available to you.

For example, my uncle is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in Canada. While only English or French is required, they often choose officers that are bilingual. He speaks both English and German, which opened up opportunities in Alberta and Manitoba, both with large populations of German speaking individuals. He has, in his 20 plus years of service, been able to use German to further his career; today he serves as the head of a special task force out of Vancouver.

Not only does having a second language look good on a resume, it also opens up opportunities that may have been previously closed. There is often a misconception that you have to move far away to make use of a second language — this is far from true.

Whether your major is aviation, business or education, there are always situations in which knowing a second language can be useful, even in North Dakota.

It can open up new doors for conducting business internationally to buyers who may be located in Europe or Central America.

As a pilot, or working in an airport, being able to talk with foreign passengers or international visitors can make their trip more enjoyable. Education is a field in which knowing and understanding another language can be very beneficial. The second language can open up positions in teaching English as a second language, opening the door to be able to teach English to immigrant students and learn about their cultures.

Speaking and understanding a foreign language can not only help jumpstart a career, but in knowing and understanding a language, you can open yourself up to different world cultures. While most people reading this will never live in a foreign country, understanding why people do what they do can be enhanced by proficiency in multiple tongues.

I would strongly recommend students take a foreign language to see if they like it.

Micah Dewey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at