Language limits create frustration


Nicolas Sokolowski, Staff Reporter

When it comes to studying foreign languages at Akins, there are only two options: Spanish or French.

Many indecisive students don’t know what languages to choose between. However, I don’t think that should be the case.

This problem of hesitancy among students is created by the problem of the two languages being our only option and nothing else being offered.

Yet it is important to acknowledge that Spanish is likely the most important foreign language for Akins students to learn because of the high number of Spanish speakers in our area.

There are many other languages offered at other schools that aren’t provided Akins. Some examples being LASA, Travis, and Austin High School, who all offer six languages.

Even some middle schools offer five languages, while our high school only technically offers two.

This makes it hard for some students because they might’ve been in middle school learning something other than the languages that are offered here.

This is a shame considering the diversity at Akins and the need for students to be exposed to other languages and cultures in an increasingly populated world.

Our generation is much more likely to communicate with people from other countries than any one that came before us. It’s becoming an essential skill in the job and recreational world to be able to understand other languages in order for people to maintain business.

For example, new appliances might be designed in the United States, but the parts might be manufactured in China, assembled in Japan, and sold in a whole other part of the world like Germany. There are many times when foreign language skills are a crucial part in bringing the device to life.

However, Akins students would be at a bitter disadvantage because we don’t offer any of the languages included in this scenario.

Austin itself is becoming a cosmopolitan place where we increasingly have people living here from other countries. If anyone happens to communicate with someone who is a non-native English speaker in the workplace, they might run into some problems.

Sadly, only 20 percent of Americans reported the ability to speak another language according to the Census Bureau report in 2009. On the other hand, 56 percent of Europeans claim that they can hold a conversation in a language that differs from their native one.

There are an expanding amount of colleges offering study abroad programs, allowing the students the opportunity to become immersed in another country, and giving them the ability to gain invaluable experiences.

This leap towards new languages could easily be taken here and now. It would benefit students to be able to communicate with not only the people moving to Austin, but also future business colleagues. If we can’t communicate, we will never be able to understand each other and live together.