Learning a Foreign Language

9 years 7 months 1 week ago November 16, 2007 Nov 16, 2007 Friday, November 16 2007 Friday, November 16, 2007 1:55:19 AM CST in News
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The Modern Langauge Institute shows a 13 percent jump since 2002. The Foreign Language Departments at the University of Missouri-Columbia have seen a big jump in its student enrollments.

The Romance Languages Department has hired additional instructors to meet the demand and now has a staff of 23 part-time instructors and 12 graduate students teaching beginning levels.

The Department of Russian and German Studies said they are not promoting their courses, but are simply just trying to keep up with the students' demand.

More students are learning Chinese, one of the most difficult languages to master, saying that taking a foreign language will give them a competitive edge in the work force.

"It's going to make me more marketable when I apply for a job, because I think the whole work-place is becoming much more global, and I think that all companies if not most have a counter-part in another country, so I think it's really important if not necessary to be able to speak another language," explained MU student Leighanne Sudbrock.

Asian language professors say that globalization plays a significant role in the recent upswing in enrollment.

"We've been at capacity since I've got here, and we can't handle anymore students," said Martin Holman, coordinator of the Japanese studies program. "But, we've been sending more student abroad than ever before."

Foreign language professors say that, despite the spike in enrollments, U.S. students have a long way to go considering the depth of European foreign language education.  But more American students are now exposed to more languages than ever before.

In addition, MU's foreign language departments say study abroad programs also give students the desire to learn other languages.

Reported by Candace Crawford

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