The United States has been introduced to many different cultures over the past decade, these cultural influences come from people of African, native American, Asian, Polynesian, and Latin American cultures. Because of the geographical location of the United States and Mexico majority of the individuals who are bilingual are location in the southwest and Florida. Being Bilingual means that an individual speaks more than one language. According to statistics currently in the United States about 20 percent of the population is bilingual.
Bilingualism affects a person’s competitiveness in the job market, their perspective on things and can affect how successful the individual could become in their future career. Companies today are more apt to hire a bilingual citizen rather than one who speaks one language, simply because of how diverse the United States has become. For this one fact it shows that students should have the opportunity to choose a second language in school. Starting in freshman year students should be required to take a second language to help them better themselves for a career in any field they would choose. Most people when they look up a job, they do not only look at the requirements or job description, but also the hourly pay or salary. According to the FluentFlix Limited website it states that employers will pay about 5 to 20 percent more per hour for a bilingual individual.
For those who are bilingual, they are said to have a better understanding of themselves and the cultures around them. Having different perspectives benefits an individual because it gives them a step up in connecting with people. A person’s communication and interpersonal skills are what set them aside from others. Interpersonal skills are the skills people use to interact with people, some of these skill sets consist of verbal and nonverbal communication, problem solving and decision-making skills.
The ability to interact and communicate properly with others is a big part of anything a student would want to do in their future career. Within a school system, students should be given the opportunity to develop these skills along with having the choice to take a foreign language course. Being introduced to more than one culture, helps an individual to better understand their culture. Understanding the importance of one’s own culture and the meaning behind everything is a great benefit especially when learning about another culture different from their own. The benefits of being bilingual are greater than being monolingual.
Another benefit is the attention span of an individual. Studies have shown that bilingualism can improve your brain functions. A student’s mental alertness can be benefited from knowing more than one language. Other skills can be developed from bilingualism. Those skills can benefit a student in helping them think in other ways. Being able to think in a variety of ways helps students when they are put into difficult situations where they must think on their feet. Rita Mae Brown once said that “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” Speaking a variety of languages could help one discover the road they want to travel, meaning that one can only get so far being monolingual. Having another language can open a door that possibly would have never become open without benefit of being bilingual. Benefits of this include the ability to learn new words or phrases and using information in new ways.
Many students have a goal in life. Whether it is to travel to a different state or continent, have a stable job, or just have the American dream those can all be bettered by speaking another language. For the students with the dream of traveling to a new place it would help them if they already knew the language of where they wanted to travel. Nelson Mandela once stated “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” This quote show that one who respects another culture, that culture will respect you too. For example, if a student chooses to take a trip to France it would be best if they had some knowledge of the language spoke there besides their primary language.
If a student did not speak the language of the country they planned to visit then they would either have to pay for a translator or would not get to take the trip they dreamed of. Also, these different places who have another language other than the primary language you speak, their road signs and the choices they have would blind side an individual. The ability to be bilingual or trilingual is a big plus when individuals are trying to have a steady and stable career or job in the future. The American dream by definition is where one takes risks to obtain their version of success in a society. This is not accomplished by chance. If a person spoke another language, then it would be possible that they could achieve these goals in a quicker and more professional way.
To summarize, becoming a bilingual or trilingual citizen can benefit you in many ways. Students who are given the opportunity to develop another language have a variety of career options. Having that ability develops their communication and interpersonal skills along with their decision-making skills. With the skill of being able to speak another language people are more likely to get a job interview than others. These examples are only a few of many. For our country to keep their role as a global leader within the next century, more individuals should begin learning another language other than their primary language. As studies show 1 of 4 Americans can speak another language, this statistic needs to be increased in my opinion. As I am a bilingual student, I know what kind of affect it can have on myself. Therefore, I speak from experience with research to back up my opinion on the importance of students becoming bilingual.
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