Jacklin Kartayasa: Don’t Be Scared of Your Language Requirement!
One of the most common questions I get as an Ambassador for the Department of Modern Languages is “How can I test out of the language requirement?” Ironically, that is also one of the most common questions I’ve heard as an Ambassador for the Leavey School of Business. The second language requirement can be daunting for many students entering college, especially if they didn’t particularly enjoy their language classes in high school. However, I believe picking up a new language or improving a language you’ve been learning can become one of the most rewarding experiences in college or your educational career as a whole.
Like the majority of students, I had to choose a language when entering high school. As the language I speak at home has never been a second language option in American high schools, I took a shot in the dark and chose Japanese. Even though starting the language learning process was incredibly difficult, learning Japanese has led to a plethora of experiences that I would’ve never gained otherwise. In the summer of my freshman year of high school, I got the opportunity to study abroad and stay with a host family in Sapporo, Japan. This experience was life-changing (cliche but true) - I got the chance to fully immerse myself in Japanese culture, make new friends from around the world, and drastically improve my language skills. I loved my experience so much that I returned again in sophomore year and ended up interning in Japan in my junior year. Studying abroad in Japan left me longing to know more about the world and its cultures. So, I studied Chinese in Taiwan after my senior year of high school and will be studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea for the rest of this school year.
Even though my language skills are far from perfect, they’ve allowed me to view the world from different perspectives. It is so much easier to learn another language after learning your first one, and it's one of the few subjects that you can implement immediately in your everyday life. Moreover, language has become a way for me to bond with people from around the world. Knowing even just a little bit about other people’s cultures or languages can lead to a topic of conversation which can lead to lifelong friendships. In business, people often say it's about “who you know, not what you know”, and language is one topic that can allow you to make friends and meet new people wherever you go. So, don’t be afraid of your language requirement and instead try to enjoy it! You never know who or what it may lead to.
Also shameless plug: Join SCU’s Language Learning Club! Thanks.