Some college students have a hard enough time mastering English, but now the days of speaking one language may soon be over. Some professors at Florida A&M University say speaking a different language is beneficial because it helps students to be more marketable in the job market.
Karen Mitchell, education abroad coordinator, speaks Spanish fluently and has a working knowledge of Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian and French. She said speaking a different language makes one more profitable.
“Speaking other languages has helped me to be more marketable in my jobs, and it has helped me to make friends and acquaintances that live in other countries and are part of other cultures,” Mitchell said.
Cindy Peters, also an education abroad coordinator, who speaks Dutch, French and Spanish, said speaking different languages is beneficial to blacks.
Peters said black people who speak different languages will expand their horizons in the job market.
“If black people who are born in America learn how to speak different languages, it will help them break down cultural barriers within the school, doing business and throughout the community,” Peters said.
Mitchell said it is important for blacks to learn more then one language.
“The world does not expect a black person to be multilingual, particularly if you are a dark-skinned person,” Mitchell said. “So whenever I am in multicultural settings people are surprised that I can speak, read and write many languages.”
Mitchell said blacks learning another language can be an asset for the entire black community.
“The black community can increase or expand the different natural coalitions that the black community has.” Mitchell said. “Speaking others languages can help us get together with communities for social purpose, business purpose and help us meet the goal of peace in the world.”
For Johanna Ramos, an assistant professor who teaches Spanish, speaking different languages can help students get well-paid jobs.
“Today’s global market is looking for young professionals who can speak more than one language,” Ramos said. “Many students are considering a third language to make themselves more marketable. Being monolingual is no longer the norm.”
Peters said students can major or minor in Spanish and French at FAMU if they want to get a degree in foreign language. Mitchell said that if you want to learn a foreign language there are scholarships available to students.
“There are opportunities for students to learn different languages through scholarships, provided through the state,” Peters said. “You can study Arabic, Hindi, Korean and Chinese when studying abroad. Achieving scholarships to learn a foreign language and studying abroad is attainable.”
Peters agreed that these opportunities are invaluable. She said while learning a different language, students should try to learn it in its natural environment.
“It gives them a better understanding of the expressions in the language,” Peters said.