Learning a foreign language is not always easy. For children and older students in the United States, however, some languages seem to be much more appealing than others, and there are plenty of schools, academic personalities, teachers and private tutors who also support the teachings of these languages as being of paramount importance.
Spanish, French and German are among the most sought out languages in the country, but other foreign tongues, such as Chinese, Italian and Arabic are also enjoying many enrollments, particularly among college and university students.
Spanish – The Clear Winner
With more than 6 million enrollments in K-12 schools and over 700,000 in colleges throughout the country by 2013 alone, Spanish is the most commonly taught and studied language in the United States. Although enrollments have actually fluctuated since the middle of the 2000s, Spanish actually became more popular by about 10% in the past 15-20 years, and continues to grow in popularity today.
This language is also commonly taught by many private tutors who find it a very profitable endeavor to teach Spanish both to younger children and students looking to finish college with a good enough grade, or wanting to expand their international career opportunities.
Other Popular Languages in the US
Far below, French and German are the second and third most popular languages to learn in the US. Compared to Spanish, however, these languages have only about 1/5th of the large number of enrollments associated with Spanish learning students and even less than K-12 students who enrolled in Spanish courses.
Following these, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Arabic are the most sought out languages when it comes to college students, while younger children more eagerly look toward learning Latin, Japanese and even Russian.
The differences between college and K-12 students are somewhat understandable due to the fact that goals change over time, and for many college and university students, the choice of studying a foreign language is made less for fun and as an academic pursuit, and more for the purpose of attaining a more prosperous future, or finding a more profitable and fulfilling career pursuit.
As such, the value of learning a foreign language may shift greatly for those looking to complete their higher education, pointing to a different set of goals and future endeavors.
The Value of Learning a Foreign Language
According to financial experts, even though Spanish is by far the most popular language, it is far less likely to lead to a financially fulfilling career. The same can also be said about French. On the other hand, languages like German, Italian, Russian and Chinese are considered more valuable, often leading to wage bonuses exceeding 4%.
Of course, there are far more advantages to learning a foreign language than the prospect of a profitable career. Spanish, Italian, German and French are all key languages used throughout the world, and the future social and cultural development of children and older students alike may often depend on learning these languages.
Also, the importance of being able to speak a second (or even third and fourth) language is commonly associated with improved life choices, a better understanding of multi-national and multi-cultural endeavors and a more rational approach to international and political issues.