Arts & Humanities: Don't Leave College Without Them

with people you would otherwise never meet. Friend- ship forms through communication, and languages are what allow us to do so. Conflict happens all too often when people miscommu - nicate. This occurs when people do not speak the same language, but happens even by people speaking the same one. People are not accustomed to saying things in different ways, to reworking and reorganizing words. Learning a new language is hard, but one invaluable part of it is learning how to maneuver around gaps of knowl- edge. Portraying one’s desired meaning despite the bumbling and stumbling of a new tongue is incredibly fulfilling. It then helps people grow as communicators on the whole. Language learning is how we transcend borders. It cre- ates global affability, and trust among strangers. When thinking about how you want to spend your education, and even your free time, let your mind think a little on languages. Realize that with learning a new language, you will learn so much more than just its words.

depending on the kind of love, and how the French do not have a word for awkward or creepy. There are tribal languages all over the world that do not have the words right or left, and use only cardinal directions, due to the type of geography they inhabit. Russian lacks the word for blue. Instead, they have light blue and dark blue ex- isting as two entirely different colors, and native Rus - sian speakers can pinpoint exactly when blue colors on a spectrum change from light to dark. Instances like these are common because language affects how we think, and learning a newway of speaking helps develop and grow your mind. Language is furthermore a way to connect. It can even be an instant way of forming companionship. Coun- tries are comprised of multilingual citizens. A bilingual friend of mine once told me that she, upon meeting a stranger who also speaks Spanish, feels connected to them as if they share a common history. There is a cul- ture to language, and finding that unexpectedly is like finding a token that reminds you of home. When trave - ling abroad, foreign language speaking lets you interact

Crystal Flax is a double major in Political Science and French, with a passion for education systems and cur - riculum development. She plans on pursuing a career in education reform. She has always been driven towards education, learning, and traveling, and hopes to continue learning languages throughout her life and career.


by Crystal Flax

The arts and humanities represent diversity and dis- covery, and understanding ourselves from our roots to our reality. It is the study of humankind; the study of who we are as we know it. Our motives, mysteries, and misdeeds. There is talk about the humanities being a useless, pointless, money-wasting discipline. A ‘soft’ science, if it is considered a science at all. Underfunded and overlooked, the world is shouting that the humani- ties are a discipline doomed to die. It is time the public shouts back. Language is one way we shout. It is an integral part of the human experience, and it is a part of every culture. Languages connect humans across the globe by allow- ing us to communicate. They come in thousands of shapes and sizes, having developed in different regions at different times. Most importantly, language can be a tool. The use of language is fundamental to non-govern- mental organizations (NGOs). NGOs are nonprofit groups that work at addressing social or political is- sues around the world. Cultural sensitivity is important to their work, and it comes in the form of language. In my research highlighting the importance of language- training within these

groups, I learned that to help people, you have to under- stand their situation and include them in the dialogue. This means being able to have a dialogue. Despite the growing interconnectedness of the world’s population through technology, language is not transcending such borders. In the international world, the need for foreign- language proficiency is only growing. People travel across the world wanting to help others, but forget that English is not a universal language. If a group wants to implement sex education, vocational training, or medical aid in remote areas where they need it most, they must do so in the language of the commu- nity’s local language. Low income people are the ones in need of aid, and they are the ones who lack the ac- cessibility of learning new languages. It becomes the responsibility of those entering the communities to de- velop the tools they need to foster communication, so that respectful and effective aid can flourish. No language you learn is a waste. It can have practi- cal uses in international fields, but also opens up your mind to new ways of thinking. Understanding a culture can come from learning the subtleties of a language. Like how Japanese has three ways of saying I love you



Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them

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