The Pros and Cons of Taking A Foreign Language (other than French or Spanish)

24 Apr

Chances are, my friend, if you attend any kind of normal university- you’re going to have to take at least two semesters of a foreign language. And no, Kappa Sigma pledge… that does not mean you can take Spanish I, make an A, and then re-take it two years later. Two semesters, levels one-then-two, of all the best things about college- confusion, conjugations, and the pursuit of the perfect excuse to get you out of that class up until the week before finals. Of course, the most popular languages to take are the romance languages- easily conjugated, almost all the same letters as the English Alphabet, and the newfound (though usually misguided) confidence in your ability to ‘bag it’ or ‘make him sweat’. For those brave enough to consider taking one of your school’s other, more difficult languages, though… here are some pros and cons of following through in your wildly uncommon pursuit of rarely-spoken fluency.

PRO: It’s something fun to use when showing off to people you want to show off for. Generally, whether it’s in front of pledges or your new girlfriend’s parents, delightedly rattling off ‘hi, my name is’ in literally any language BUT English, Spanish, or French makes you sound eight million times more interesting. This is a fact.

CON: You probably won’t learn much more than how to introduce yourself. Unless you’re actually one of those people who wants to learn a foreign language, you’re not going to gain anything useful from the class.

PRO: There’s no other class to be compared to, so you’ll probably get a good grade. Remember that one English class you took in high school where the teacher constantly compared everything you did to another class period? If your class is rare enough, you’re the only class period… and therefore less likely to get lower grades out of exasperation or unfair comparisons. You’re also more likely to get the only professor, so you can’t end up with the only mean Profesora out of the twenty or so your school has hired.

CON: Since you’re the only class, you’re much more likely to end up with that one professor on campus who doesn’t speak a word of english. Remember when I mentioned earlier how little you’ll learn? Most likely, your professor treated English class the same way. Say goodbye to effective levels of communication for the next fifteen weeks, because literally everything you say is going to get lost in translation.

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