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Why taking a foreign language in college is the best…and sometimes worst thing to do in college

December 6, 2017

Hello all! If you don’t already know, I am a Spanish minor here at K-State and I am about to complete my third semester of classes in Spanish. I took four years of Spanish in high school, and I was fortunate enough to test Spanish 4 here. After Spanish 4, I took a composition and grammar class and I am currently taking a class in conversation. Learning a foreign language can be more than just a resume builder, especially for those that have dedicated at least 18 credit hours to their college education for it. I know of multiple students from my classes who have spent weeks, sometimes months in a foreign country and have been able to interact with the locals, beyond just hello and thank you. Foreign languages are super awesome…and awesomely hard, so here’s a list of the best and the worst things about learning a foreign language.

 

The best:

1. Meeting new people beyond your major. I’m in a class with twelve other students, none of which are in the College of Ag. Without Spanish, I would have never have met these students, and while I might never see them again after this semester, they made the class more fun and enjoyable.

2. The food. Seriously, even if I didn’t particularly enjoy authentic Mexican hot chocolate, at least I can say I tried it. Also you always have an excuse to eat tacos and that’s really what I strive for in my life.

3. A reason to travel. We all want to travel and sometimes it seems difficult to just pick one spot to go, especially when you’re traveling overseas. If you know a foreign language you can at least have a start. Spanish is more difficult because you could go to Mexico, Central America, South America, or Spain, but at least it’s a start to an awesome vacation.

4. Eavesdropping. Even if you’re not that great at a language yet it is still fun to try and listen in to hear as many words as possible. I keep waiting for the day I’m fluent and I can really learn what people are saying while waiting in line at a store.

5. New culture. If you’re anything like me, I love to learn about history and foreign language teachers love to teach you more than just language. Also you get to adopt some new holiday traditions from your new language. Side note: Cinco de Mayo is not as popular in Mexico as it is in the United States.

 

The worst:

1. The vocab. If you’ve ever taken a foreign language you understand, but for those of you who haven’t, imagine learning all of the words you picked up on in your life and then relearning all those words in four years. It doesn’t sound terrible until you procrastinate and have to learn 100 words overnight. God bless Quizlet.

2. Verbs. Nothing makes you rethink everything you have learned about the English language until you get to conjugating subjunctive.

3. Feeling like your speaking level is that of a toddler. Foreign languages can sometimes be daunting and it is sometimes frustrating to feel like kids in Kindergarten can do better than you, but you’ll get to that Junior High level someday just keep practicing.

 

I could probably think of some more, but to be honest foreign languages are awesome and while I sometimes want to hole up and cry for days about my vocab quiz tomorrow, I am still happy to say I can speak passable Spanish. For all those wanting to take a foreign language, do it, do it now while there are great teachers surrounding you at college and students who will understand your pain. But most importantly do it now so I can have someone to gossip with and make everyone else around us nervous…kidding…mostly.

 

Ojalá su semana sea fantástica y disfrute su descanso de escuela. ¡Hasta luego¡

 

In Sisterhood,

Olivia Harrison

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