Tips for Choosing the Right Foreign Language for Your Student

Many students pick a foreign language based on what their friends are taking. This article discusses other ways for students to choose the foreign language they'd like to learn.

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When students enter high school, they are given the opportunity to select specific courses they would like to take as long as they meet the high school's graduation requirements. Most high school students are now required to take at least 2 years of a foreign language by their high school and by the colleges they apply to. Although students must study a foreign language, they often get to choose which one. Here are some tips for choosing a foreign language.

What are the Student's Interests?

Before your student chooses a foreign language, discuss with him his interests. You could ask questions like:

  1. Would you like to visit Europe during high school or college?
  2. Would you like to travel in Mexico or Central and South America?
  3. Are you considering a major in the humanities such as history, art history, English, or philosophy?
  4. Would you like to be a bilingual educator?
  5. Where would you like to work? California? Texas? Montreal?

The answers may help your student decide which foreign language will serve him best in the future. For instance, if your student wants to travel through Europe they could take French or Spanish, but if they're more interested in South America then taking Spanish should be considered. If your student is interested in the field of humanities, learning Latin may be useful professionally and academically.

Should Your Student take what is Popular at his High School?

Suggest to your student that they explore their options before simply choosing the most popular foreign language at his or her high school. You might want to suggest they study Latin, especially if they plan to learn multiple languages or want to improve vocabulary prior to taking the SATs. Study of Latin can result in improvement in English vocabulary.

Studying a foreign language is a gateway to the wider world and different cultures. There's more at stake than just another grade on the report card. Taking the time to choose the right language to study can open your student up to information about their academic interests and future plans.

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