Competency in at least one foreign language is not so much an academic accomplishment today as it is a necessity to survive in a diverse, perpetually changing and unpredictable 21st century-world. Public schools, private schools and college prep boarding schools offer students many different foreign language choices to choose from — the difficult part is choosing which foreign language will serve you best.
As you prepare to leave Wasatch Academy and go on to explore new environments, whether that means enrolling in a large, out-of-state university of moving halfway across the globe to pursue humanitarian efforts in a third-world country, here’s how to choose the most useful foreign language for your future.
Step One: Envision Your Future Goals
Although your life plans are subject to change, having a general idea of where you see yourself in five, 10 or 15 years will help you narrow down which foreign language is most beneficial for your future. And although learning a foreign language — as one among thousands of other students at college prep boarding schools around the nation — may seem trivial or unnecessary, it’s absolutely not. Here’s why.
Step Two: Start Learning Now
While it’s one achievement to learn a foreign language, it’s an entirely different ballgame to master a foreign language. Completely mastering a foreign language can take years or even decades — which is why it’s so critical that students at boarding high schools get started as early as possible.
Step Three: Where in the World Will Your Future Self Be?
Where, geographically, do you see yourself in the next five years? Do you have one foot firmly planted on American soil as you buckle down to study for your medical school entrance exams? Or are you engaging excitedly with your travel companions as you snap photographs of temples in Beijing, China during Chinese New Year?
Fully Commit to Learning the Language
Different foreign languages will benefit different situations. So before you fully commit to learning one language, take a moment to envision your future: How will learning this language help me in this situation in the next few years? What about in five years? The earlier you begin thinking about your future goals, the easier it will be to choose the most beneficial foreign language for you.