WSU Should Make Foreign Languages ​​a UCORE Requirement – The Daily Evergreen

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Learning another language has networking, cultural benefits that all students should embrace

RYAN PUGH | THE EVERGREEN DAILY

Enrollment rates and class capacities in all foreign language courses except Spanish are very low compared to other WSU courses. Requiring a foreign language would ensure that all students can benefit from it.

As a freshman entering college, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take exciting new courses that weren’t accessible to me in high school.

Even though I took four years of Spanish and earned college credits in high school, I decided during orientation to enroll in Italian 101. I loved learning Spanish, but I’ve been interested in the Italian language and culture since childhood, and I knew that taking it to WSU would be a valuable and rewarding experience.

On the first day, I discovered that there were only 15 students in my Italian class, making it significantly smaller than my Honors College classes, which are supposed to be among the smallest on campus.

Shockingly, in a school with over 25,000 undergraduate students, only 15 would enroll in any given class. Turns out, Italian isn’t the only foreign language class at WSU that’s facing the under-enrollment problem.

WSU offers eight foreign languages: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. Spanish is the only one of those eight that offers more than two sections of the first-semester class, according to WSU’s course schedule.

There are 159 students enrolled in the seven sections of Spanish 101, making it the most popular introductory language course on campus. Moreover, of the eight languages ​​offered, only Russian and Japanese are filled to capacity. All the other level 101 classes are not as complete as they could be – or rather as they should be.

Examination of data from only 101 level classes shows that there are surprisingly few students enrolled in foreign languages. Since speaking another language is a valuable job skill in the 21st century, there should be many more students in language classes.

Learning a new language can help you work or study abroad, learn more while traveling, and stand out to employers. The WSU Health Professions Student Center recommends that all incoming pre-health students gain “cultural knowledge” experience which can begin with taking a foreign language course.

“Each language has a domain that extends all over the world,” said Italian and Spanish teacher Maria Previto.

Previto strongly believes that students considering studying abroad should spend at least a year learning the language of the country they will be visiting.

“[In doing so]you will feel comfortable if you are alone,” she said.

Rodnay Rodriguez, a graduate in international business, studied French, Hindi, Russian, Chinese and Italian.

“[These languages] are greatly beneficial for my future career,” Rodriguez said.

Some WSU students are likely to use a foreign language in a career related to their major. Others enrolled based on the requirements of various colleges, such as the Honors College mandate that requires students to complete four semesters of a language.

Do other students not take language courses simply because it is not required by the college as a whole?

Considering how useful it can be to know a language other than English, it seems like other colleges should require students to meet a foreign language standard to graduate, but they don’t.

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