Foreign Language Study Has Multiple Benefits


Emily Isaacs

Tia Beltz enjoys teaching her Spanish students culture, as well as the language.

Emily Isaacs, Staff Reporter

High school is an opportunity where students have more choices because of the elective courses they are allowed to take. For some, the foreign language electives are the ones that interest them the most. 

Many students are drawn to languages because they are given an opportunity to learn a new practical skill and to learn about the culture people practice in that country in a fun, safe environment. There are also multiple benefits from learning a language in high school including how to handle different situations and discovering a world beyond Kentucky.

Knowing a foreign language can be very useful.  GCHS Spanish teacher Tia Beltz explained, “Sometimes I get called down to the front office because my language skills are needed. If a Spanish speaking parent is not understanding what the front desk is asking, I assist.  It’s helpful and a relief to know you can help someone out in the littlest of ways just by knowing a foreign language.” 

Learning a language can also be beneficial even when you get out of high school.  GCHS senior Robyn Berwanger felt that studying multiple languages can help with employment.  “Learning any language can help you stand out to people when you are being interviewed for a job. When they read your resume, it will interest them because it is very hard to find bilingual speakers,” Berwanger stated. People who have experience in studying different languages, even in college, can increase your chances of getting a job that may allow the use of that skill to their advantage. 

It’s helpful and a relief to know you can help someone out in the littlest of ways just by knowing a foreign language.

— Tia Beltz, Spanish teacher

Being taught a language is more than learning how people speak.  Gaining an understanding about the culture that is associated with a country that speaks the foreign language is also important.  Beltz said, “kids get so invested into the culture of Spanish.” 

The Christmas season is a time when Beltz is excited to teach her students about cultural activities for Spanish speaking countries.  One way she helps her students learn about culture involves a log called CagoTio.  This is a Mexican tradition where one covers the log with a blanket. After this, individuals can decorate the log with a face and children feed, sing to, and keep this log warm until Christmas when it is busted up like a pinata. “You can go to any of the seniors that took my class and they could tell you about the wildest story of a log, and you can just see the pure joy in their faces,” Beltz added. 

Teachers pursue languages for a variety of reasons.  GCHS French teacher Jennifer Beckett said, “When I was eight my friend had traveled to France to study abroad  and it was just mind-blowing to me.  To hear the stories she told me being in another country was just amazing. And that’s what interested me to learn a foreign language that being french.”  Her friend’s experiences left an impression on her and Mrs Beckett then decided to study French in college. Studying abroad in another country can be another benefit because you are learning the language in the native country which can help you learn and adapt. 

Learning a second language can be tough but in the long run it does have several possible benefits from doing so. Whether they can be studying abroad, helping in social situations, even having a better chance at being hired in a job interview, investing the time in learning a new language can lead students to many places.