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Studying a World Language (second language) and its cultural influences enhances one’s personal education in many ways. Students who study a second language and culture have a powerful foundation for successful communication. The world language learner also realizes that eye contact, facial expression, and gestures play an important role in expanding the message that is being conveyed. With these understandings comes a new found respect for the beauty and grace of others’ languages and cultures, as well as one’s own.
Research studies indicate that the very process of studying another language may give students a momentum that enables them to perform at higher levels in various subjects. In two studies data has shown that students who have completed a world language course in high school have higher scores on the ACT exams in English and math regardless of their ability level (Olsen and Brown 1992) and perform significantly better on the SAT verbal exams. In the same studies, it was shown that the economic background of world language students did not affect performance; students from lower socioeconomic levels that studied a second language performed on a par with their more affluent peers (Cooper 1987).
To study another language and culture is to gain an especially rich preparation for the future. Second language/cultural learning is an essential requisite for life as a citizen in the ever-growing local, national and world communities.
*Foreign Language, World Language, Second Language and Target Language =
a language being studied other than English.