Campolindo in Need of More Foreign Languages


Lily Qin

Students at Campolindo are faced with a scarce selection of languages to choose from.

Growing up, I’ve heard hundreds of times that it’s good to learn a foreign language, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one. But when it comes time to choose a language in middle and high school, students are given a scarce selection to choose from. At Campolindo, the choices include German, French, Spanish, and Mandarin. Although there are over 7000 languages spoken in the world, Campolindo only offers four of these, barely giving students a taste into what the world has to offer.

Learning a foreign language offers a variety of benefits for students, in both the short and long-term. When studying a foreign language, students can improve their analytical, problem solving, and creativity skills, which can help them academically. Additionally, knowing a foreign language gives you a competitive advantage over peers in the professional world and more opportunities for work. A Preply study found that 21% of surveyees have missed a career opportunity because of their lack of language diversity, which is a considerable disadvantage to their careers. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a huge opportunity, would you?

However, these benefits can only be obtained by sticking with a foreign language throughout high school and perhaps college. Students are only going to stick to a language if they are studying a language that is enjoyable and rewarding to them. If a language is neither, then the student will drop the language after fulfilling the academic requirements, and any benefits that could have been obtained will be lost. By offering a wider array of languages, students will be more likely to find a language they enjoy and stick to it throughout high school and into college.

Foreign language enrollment in US colleges has dropped by 23% in recent years, according to Newsdle. One potential reason that caused this drop could be the lack of satisfaction in a high school foreign language class. Junior Mia Lawrence said that “if [students] find a language they’re more interested in then they’ll stay in it but if they’re just taking it for the credit then [they won’t].”

While it may be more difficult to find a teacher for different foreign languages, let’s not forget that many other high schools offer Italian, Arabic, Japanese, and Latin – in fact, Japanese is offered at Las Lomas and Latin at Miramonte – proving that there are teachers who teach languages other than the ones offered at Campolindo. Additionally, more languages does not have to mean less common languages. It would be more difficult to find teachers for more obscure languages, but not for other popular languages, such as Hindi, which is the third most popular language worldwide, according to USA Today.

Another consideration for languages is sign language. According to the State of Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Executive Department, over half a million people consider ASL to be their primary language in the US and it is the third most popular language in the US after English and Spanish. This means there wouldn’t be a huge difficulty finding a teacher. In fact, some high schools already offer sign language and many colleges and universities offer it too. Given the predominance of sign language in other students’ lives, Campolindo should join and offer sign language as well.

Sign language would be useful for students when they need to communicate with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, and could be useful in their professional lives. Adding ASL as a language option on campus would be a step towards achieving the inclusivity that Campolindo strives to achieve.

In addition, minority groups would be more included if their languages were taught in school. Language is an important part of inclusivity, and learning foreign languages can help eliminate prejudices against the groups of people who speak those languages.

The scarce selection of languages offered can have a lasting impact on students for the rest of their lives. By increasing the selection, students are more likely to find a language they enjoy and stick to it. It would be a favor to students both short and long term. By acting now, Campolindo would better set up students for future success.