As California continues to grow more diverse in its cultures and people groups, there are many benefits to being multilingual.
In “The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual,” Dr. Viorica Marian states more of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual than monolingual.
Becoming familiar with more than one language can help people communicate better in the classroom and the workplace.
David Isaacs, assistant professor of English, said he benefits from exploring more than one language as he is working on his doctorate in cultural studies. He said he has seen how more people can be reached and more gaps bridged through knowing more than one language.
“Everyone has the opportunity to learn a new language. People often simply assume they can’t because of the time it takes or the fact that they aren’t in school anymore,” Isaacs said. “Being multilingual has helped me communicate with people I have encountered who I normally wouldn’t be able to understand. I would love for everyone to get that experience, as well.”
Preston Gonzalez, freshman engineering major, said taking a Spanish class allows him to communicate better with his family and friends.
“I have family and friends who live in Mexico and I used to only be able to vaguely follow conversations of theirs,” Gonzalez said. “Now that I’ve studied the language in more depth, I can respond confidently and engage in more things with them.”
For students who are deciding which foreign language to take, considering how it can improve their future is something about which to think.
Garrett Garcia, freshman undeclared major, said he decided to enroll in a Spanish class next semester because of how it can help him in his future career.
“I didn’t want to take a language class at all, but once I weighed the pros and cons I realized knowing a second language could increase my chances of securing a job in the future,” Garcia said.
Gilberto Perez, associate professor of Spanish, literature and cultural studies, said there are advantages that come with being familiar with more than one language.
“When an employer sees that someone is bilingual or multilingual, they are instantly shown that communication will be more sufficient and that language may not be a barrier between co-workers,” Perez said.
Knowing another language can help bridge communication gaps on and off campus, and increase the chances of securing a job in the workplace.