By Heather Cass, Publications Manger at Penn State Behrend
Do you speak French? You could learn how at Penn State Behrend, where you’ll find courses in French, German, and Spanish, as well as a class on Italian culture. Behrend’s academic offerings in global languages include a minor in Spanish and a German Studies certificate.
You can learn much more about Behrend’s language offerings during the college’s celebration of National Foreign Language Week, Monday, February 28, to Thursday, March 3.
The week’s events will include a variety of Zoom presentations on language and culture topics, making it easy to pop in from wherever you are on or off campus. See the complete schedule and get Zoom links here.
The line-up will even feature in-person events that involve food. Yum!
- Monday, February 28, from noon to 1:00 p.m., you can sample food from different countries at World Catering Day in McGarvey Commons.
- Wednesday, March 2, from 11:00 a.m. to noon, you can Join the Global Ambassadors in Bruno’s Café for a free taste of French cuisine and a chance to win delicious macarons.
The Behrend Blog chatted with Dr. Laurie Urraro, assistant teaching professor of Spanish, to learn more about the event and why everyone should consider learning a foreign language.
How many languages do you speak?
I am a native English speaker who is also fluent in Spanish. I speak some Portuguese and can read some French. I also understand a little Italian.
What language should students learn?
It depends on the field one enters, of course, but any foreign language is useful and will help you stand out in a job interview!
We know that it’s easiest to learn a second language as a child, but how about as a college student? College students’ minds are still developing, too, so it is not too late to learn! In fact, I would encourage anyone at any age to try to pick up another language. Just because it’s “easier” at a young age doesn’t mean it’s impossible at an older age.
Why should a student learn another language?
Here are just a few great reasons:
- It will boost your resume. No matter what field you go into, learning a foreign language will be an “added bonus” that makes you a more attractive employee.
- In an increasingly global world, being bilingual makes you more versatile. It also makes you more mobile as it’s easier for you to travel and explore new places.
- It helps your English. Many languages are derived from Latin (French, Spanish, Italian), including many words in English. English is a Germanic tongue. Learning a foreign language will boost your vocabulary by familiarizing you with words that have common equivalents in other languages.
- It makes you smarter. Research has shown that being bilingual improves cognitive skills unrelated to language.
- It increases your cultural IQ. Studying a foreign language exposes the learner to diverse customs, ideas, and perspectives. Of course, you can still learn about other cultures without speaking the native tongue, but language learning allows for a more immersive experience.
- It can increase your brain power: Learning a foreign language can improve your multitasking, attention, and problem-solving skills. It can also help improve your memory, which comes in handy when trying to remember the names of new contacts or clients.
Learn more about Foreign Languages Week at Behrend here.