A spectacle is happening in today’s society that the world, one hundred years ago, could have never thought possible. Cultural barriers between countries are blurring and are eventually predicted to disappear entirely, forming one, global nation. This process of globalization is due mainly to the rise of modern technologies through the internet and computers. Just a few decades ago, people would have never thought that an international business meeting would be as simple as few clicks of a mouse and a video-call. Now, international trading, as well as many other tasks, is becoming a reality.
However, the only thing that might restrain a deal between a start-up American business and a possible Chinese investor is an acute language barrier. To keep the machine that is the global market well-oiled and functioning at maximum efficiency, it only makes sense for a common language to be spoken. The sooner the United States schools realize this, the sooner they can stay competitive on a global scale. The culture-blending effects of globalization necessitate high school and college students to achieve proficiency in a second, useful language.
To fully understand why a second language is so important for United States citizens, one must understand the causes of constantly rising globalization. The first and most obvious cause is the internet and the lines of communication that it opens. If used appropriately, the internet can connect people from a variety of nationalities for almost endless purposes. Perhaps the most appealing purpose would be the potential for international business endeavors. Businessmen have, since the dawn of the internet, seized the opportunity to use it for global business growth.
They recognize that the internet is an information highway that can be used to help business contact clients from around the globe as well as promote their business on the web. These business opportunities have given once developmentally backwards nations such as China or India, the ability to contact other well-developed countries for trade. This causes and influx in these countries economies as well as giving the developed counties new trading partners that may have higher potential manufacturing power than they do (“Globalization and Localization Association Predicts Jump in Demand for Language Industry Services”).
With all of these benefits for the global economy, it is not hard to see why these countries have welcomed globalization. Money is not the only thing that is being transferred in today’s global economy. Like a pilot fish on a shark, the sharing of cultures comes along with globalization. Since the world is so connected now through technology and trade, many cultures are being mixed together in a global melting pot. This exposes a need for a common language to be spoken between nations.
Since language can be crucial to understanding a country’s culture as well as communicating with the citizens of the country, businesses often look for potential employees who are bilingual because they have that advantage over people who are not (Akay). Therefore, if a person learns a second language they can gain an edge in the job market. A second language is key for the modern businessman due to the rise of globalization. Schools around the world realize that language is a necessity for modern workers to be competitive and are adjusting their curriculum to meet these modern needs.
For instance, in foreign countries, it is a common practice to first learn their native language and then after that, to take English classes since it is currently recognized as an international language. This puts them at a distinct advantage over people who do not speak multiple languages since they can participate in national as well as international affairs (Akay). The United States is a different story. There is an acute lack of emphasis on language in American schools, and the languages that they do teach (typically French, German, and Spanish) are rarely used after the student graduates.
These languages, however, are not as important as they were at one time. Other languages should be taught as another option for students. Since China is the United States’ primary trading partner, it makes sense for students to have the option to learn Mandarin (Lapowsky). Languages spoken in other major trading countries such as India should be taught as well. These courses should be required for students to take so that America can share a common language with these countries as well as stay competitive on a global scale.
Globalization is creating a world where learning a second language is a modern must. Language can open new doors for people, and now that cultural barriers are eroding, new languages have become more important and useful than ever before. To ensure that their students can grasp every opportunity that comes their way, schools need to require students to achieve proficiency in a second language. Since globalization is showing no signs of slowing, American Students need to buckle up and embrace the ride.