Why Take a Foreign Language Class?

Nicole Modders


*Tick tock tick tock* *scrolling scrolling scrolling* “How much longer left of this class?” “Is this class almost over?” “I wish I didn’t have to take this class.” Even just being in a foreign language class for 60 min it is almost guaranteed that you will hear students muttering things like this or constantly checking the time to see just how much longer is left of class. Most high school and middle school students do not take foreign language classes seriously, because when are you actually going to use a foreign language class later in life, right? Wrong. Contrary to what students think, foreign language classes aren’t just a burden you’re put through during high school just to never see again after you graduate.

  Emily Dornbush, a student at Muskegon Community College, took two years of Spanish during her four years at WO, and at the time felt like many of us do about being in a foreign language class: why do we really need it, is this really necessary? Dornbush believed that it was not going to help her in the future because she was not going into a foreign language-based career. Dornbush decided to be a nurse, so foreign language seemed fairly unnecessary. “At the time I felt that taking Spanish was just a waste of time,” Dornbush said.

  But as Dornbush, 19, entered college and landed a job at Holland Hospital, she realized that her years of taking Spanish in high school were in fact not going to waste. “I work at Holland Hospital as a patient care assistant, and very often I will get patients that are only Spanish speaking,” Dornbush said. “It’s really helpful when there isn’t anyone who speaks fluent Spanish around, and I can step up and help.” Although being a nurse is not a foreign language based career, her 2 years in Spanish have certainly helped her better communicate with her patients that come in that cannot speak English.  

  “It looks good on applications.” Dornbush said.  Having a history of foreign language has made Dornbush stand out from her coworkers who have not, giving her a higher probability to get hired by employers in the future. The ability to communicate in another language is a skill employers tend to look for in potential employees all around the world.

  Although foreign language is appealing to employers all around the world, it is especially appealing to employers in diverse places like Holland. Being from a diverse community like Holland, where a large portion of the population is Hispanic, makes it even more important to be able to communicate in a foreign language. Especially in places like a hospital, where it is not uncommon to have a patient come in who are only Spanish speaking. It is vital to be able to communicate with patients so they can receive the best care possible.
  So before you pick up your phone only to waste away another hour of foreign language class watching the clock tick by, think about where you’re going to be in 10 years and all the dreams you wish to accomplish by then and remember how much this one class will affect that future you imagined.