The importance of foreign language study is best realized by studying one. The accomplishing feeling you get on learning a foreign language and the enrichment in you that the language brings, can be felt only through experience. There are many reasons why one should learn a foreign language.
Firstly, learning a language of another country helps one understand its culture. Language becomes a peephole to look at the nation's culture, its traditions, and its history. Italian film director Federico Fellini says, "A different language is a different vision of life". Unless one understands a culture in its own terms, one cannot be said to have gained exposure to another culture. It is only when one perceives something the way it is expressed that he/she can be said to have 'understood' the expression. Intercultural insensitivity may lead to misunderstandings. A multilingual person can act as a bridge between two distinct cultures and help promote world peace. Global understanding coupled with globalization can effectively bring the world closer.
Research has shown that having studied a foreign language, one can understand one's own language better. It deepens the understanding of one's own culture. General language skills improve after studying foreign languages, thus enhancing the understanding of one's own language as well. Language study involves other learning skills. So foreign language study can raise one's abilities to function in other spheres of life. Adaptability increases as an outcome of foreign language study because one learns to accept unfamiliar ideas while learning a new language. In studying a foreign language, one faces totally new ideologies and thus learns to adapt to diversity.
There is a different aspect to foreign language study, which says that studying it makes one more eligible to venture certain fields. Certain colleges require at least two years of high school foreign language study for admission. In some colleges, students are required to acquire reading knowledge of other languages. This helps when reading research work in non-English language books and journals. Knowing a foreign language can increase one's chances of securing an admission to a college of his/her choice.
After getting out of college, it is the time to go for an employment or start a business. Both are benefited by knowledge of a foreign language. To stand in competition, a business has to deal with worldwide clients of varied cultures. Employees need to communicate in languages other than their own. Many fields such as the travel industry, communications, advertising, education, and engineering have sectors dealing with foreign language study. Having better employment opportunities and greater chances of excelling in business suggest the importance of foreign language study.
If one wants to realize art and literature expressed in other languages, one has to have the knowledge of those languages. Deep knowledge of a language can lead to the exact interpretation of a literary work that has been done in a foreign language. The original form of an expression is often lost in its translation. So, the true appreciation of art and literature is possible only on accessing it in the language of its own.
One may travel to different countries for purposes of touring or studying. In both cases, having studied the nation's language helps. When in another country, if one can communicate with the people there, life becomes easier. One can make friends with people speaking other languages, thus broadening one's horizons. Not knowing the languages of each other can actually bar the communication between two people. On the contrary, foreign language study opens doors to new acquaintances and friends.
After all, language is a medium of communication. It's a means of expression. Languages can become links joining dissimilar cultures. Knowing many improves one's cognitive skills and interpretive abilities. Foreign language study is indeed rewarding.