Language schools » Private School or University?

Private School or University?

Private School or University?

The academic curriculum - of both public and private high schools - generally emphasizes foreign languages, social sciences, and communications. This three curricular areas have the purpose to help students develop the competencies necessary for effective participation in an international environment.

The development of a functional command of at least one modern foreign language is the single element that distinguishes this kind of school from that of a regular high school or one that stresses social science programs and offers foreign language study as an elective. The absolute centrality of foreign language study cannot be stressed enough. No successes in "international education" will make up for failure in this area.

Students are expected to graduate with a functional competence of a foreign language; the background papers to the 1979 President's Commission stressed that during the Language and International Studies High Schools experience, students and teachers are to use the foreign language as the medium of instruction not only in the foreign language classroom but also in the social science oriented courses. In addition to a first foreign language that students study for a minimum of four years, a second foreign language, preferably one of the less commonly taught languages (like Chinese, Arabic, Japanese), is to be studied for at least two years.

Studying foreign languages in a University makes the studies more specialized. There are two major areas for which the knowledge of a foreign language is important: the foreign language specialist, and other professions in which knowledge of foreign languages is a decided asset.

For the foreign language specialist, thorough training in a foreign language is indispensable. The specialist translates, interprets, or teaches in one or more foreign languages. Also possesses and uses a knowledge of the literature, culture, and history of the country or minority community in which the language is used, so he or she is aware of aspects such as sociolinguistics and the effect of culture on language that go considerably beyond basic communication. Besides language teachers in educational institutions, language specialists are required in diplomatic and government service, the travel industry, and international business, just to mention a few.

In many other professions, knowledge of one or more foreign languages greatly enhances job qualifications. Many employers actively seek potential employees with second language skills since their company or organization constantly needs to communicate with speakers of other languages. Social services, health and medical services, business and trade, the travel industry, the legal profession and law enforcement are just a few examples of professions in which foreign language skills are actively sought out by employers.