Receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree comes with some requirements. I’m not referring to the typical general education courses every major must take. There are requirements specific to this degree, one of which is taking a foreign language. According to The Board of Education, anyone receiving a B.A. should know a foreign language. B.A. degrees, and thus foreign language requirements, fall to students who study liberal arts, such as English, history and philosophy. This rule also applies to students majoring in the social sciences: anthropology, sociology, psychology, communications and political science. To think of it clearly, anything that does not need heavy math or science classes requires a foreign language. The problem with this “rule” is that it is flawed.
The first flaw is that there should not even be such a demand from the government. Why are they dictating someone’s life? I understand America is a place where many people speak different languages and often strive to learn English. In high schools, it is also a requirement to take a language. A social science major could be forced to learn either Spanish or French (typically) for about six years. Even then, after all that time, that person might not know how to speak the foreign language fluently.
The second problem is that the government assumes that as a social science major, I will be in a situation where that foreign language they made me take will be of assistance. Being in a social science program means a language must be in my schedule at all times. Suppose I selected to take Spanish and then ended up working for a company that will have me stationed in China or Russia. Those years of required language courses would prove to be of no use. I would’ve spent extra time learning a language I did not want to learn to begin with, and in that scenario, I would not benefit from it in the end.
Drexel is a funny school despite its quarter system. The fact that Drexel’s board decided to have foreign language classes only two days a week for two hours a day is questionable. How in the world is this supposed to be effective? I come to class twice a week. That’s four hours a week that I am speaking a different language. This school expects me to be partially fluent in it at the end of the term. Whereas, if one were to take a math class three times a week for an hour, that student is more likely to tell you something substantial about precalculus.
There’s a high demand for jobs teaching English as a second language. Other foreign speakers want their children to speak English. English is in demand! So why am I being forced to learn another language, especially this late in the brain development game?
If you wanted to get technical, shouldn’t a business major be “required” to take a language? It would make more sense for a business major have a language requirement since a business degree could lead to many disciplines such as accounting, finance, marketing, general management, etc.
Let us take a minute to talk about the marketer or general business administrator.
Business has to do with living with commerce. Many business majors are in jobs where they are responsible for making sure our country trades with the right countries. The key words here are “trading” with “countries.”
Someone with a business degree should learn how to speak another language to better communicate with foreign traders. A person working in the business realm would encounter someone who doesn’t speak English more likely than the social science major. I want to know why it is not pushed on business students to take a language. After all, they will be communicating with companies from other countries.
After I get my degree in communications, you do not know if I will ever have to speak the foreign language school required me to take. You have no clue if I will even end up in this line of work. It should be my choice if I want to remain ignorant to the world around me. It’s not as if school has ever prepared me for anything particular, like the right co-op for my life career. Language should be a choice, a beautiful choice.