Language lockdown: The monolingual epidemic

photo credit: Emma Clute

In America, most kids take a few years of a foreign language, but many do not actually learn the language and drop the class early on in their academic career. I think that more people should try to fully understand at least one foreign language.

Learning a foreign language is a great way to immerse yourself in culture from around the world and allow yourself to connect and communicate with more people. However, less than 1 percent of people are actually proficient in a language they studied in a US classroom, even though 93 percent of U.S. high schools were offering foreign language courses as of 2008, according to the Atlantic.

This is something that we are clearly behind of the rest of the western world in, as the European Union average showed that 56 percent of people speak at least one foreign language, 28 percent speak at least two and 11 percent speak three or more, according to a survey published the European Commission.

I think the reason for this is the culture that we have in the US of American exceptionalism — the idea that America is unique and superior to other countries. I think we need to drop our egos and become more connected with each other, and learning foreign languages could help make that happen.