A lot of high schools now have made learning languages mandatory, at least for the first few years. My school, in particular, is a language school, so for the first three years of high school, I had to study two languages, and I studied Spanish and French, and later chose to continue Spanish to a higher level.
However, something that I’ve noticed is that a lot of students at my school don’t enjoy learning another language, or think that it isn’t important. I thought I’d share why I think it is important, but before I start, I’m not saying that it has to be mandatory, I’m just saying that I think people should realize how speaking another language can be really important sometimes.
Firstly, we live in a multicultural society, in which many people leave their home countries, for various reasons. This means that just because I live in England, it is not guaranteed that everyone I meet will speak English fluently, or even know English. A study shows that in 2015, foreign-born people made up 41% of inner London’s population – and that’s just one city. There are up to a few million people living in the UK who weren’t originally born in the UK, or their family wasn’t originally born in the UK.
Another thing is that speaking a different language can make going on holiday to a foreign country much easier, and more interesting. If you travel to Spain, for example, but don’t know Spanish, of course, you can still have a great time, but it’ll be easier if you know the language. If you know the native language of the country that you’re visiting, you will be able to communicate with workers in shops and , restaurants, and ask people for directions, etc. This will overall mean that your trip is easier, as you will know how to talk to people, and so will probably more fun!
And lastly, learning a language can be really fun! I love learning about how different languages structure their sentences, or how their grammar works. I think it’s really cool that I can say things like “Hello, my name is Phoebe” (“Hola, me llamo Phoebe”) or “I don’t like Maths” (“no me gustan las matemáticas”) in Spanish. I also find the culture parts of my Spanish lessons really interesting – in England, we don’t have festivals other than music festivals, but in Spain, they have really interesting festivals that take place every year, and I think they’re really beautiful. Without learning Spanish, I wouldn’t have known about these festivals in detail.
So, overall, I think everyone should try and learn at least one language other than their native language in their lifetime, as being bilingual can have lots of benefits!