Parli italiano? No? Va bene. Up until a few months ago, I didn’t speak Italian either. This past summer I began self-studying the Romance language with the aid of an online program. In order to fulfill the requirements for my Modern Languages minor, I need to complete two languages at the second year level and…
While language skills have traditionally been a prerequisite to study abroad, Stanford is gradually weakening the language requirements of its Bing Overseas Study Program (BOSP).
A whole forced cultural assimilation can be started with the destruction of the culture’s language. As soon as a cornerstone of culture is destroyed, the rest of the culture will soon follow. To stop destroying diversity and start closing the gap between global powers, we should start learning less popular languages and work on preserving more culture.
I heard someone say the first week is the hardest,” my best friend at Stanford told me a couple days before I was supposed to leave. “Why?” I asked. “I don’t know, that’s just what I heard,” she told me. I brushed off the warning with a mere shrug. I should have heeded the warning but little could have been done to prepare myself. Accepted into the program late, I had less than 12 days, when others had months, to make a decision whether or not to go. To say the least, it was the hardest decision I’ve made to date. I took a lot of advice from people who had previously been abroad who spouted the benefits of going out of the country and the wonderful time they had but failed to mention the reality of the first week. If you had asked me last week how I had felt, I would have said I regretted my decision. Now, after a weekend in the wonderful port city of Valparaiso, I love the life in Chile.
While Stanford shares this rising enrollment trend with many other colleges, the popularity of less traditional languages, such as Chinese and Arabic, makes Stanford distinct from its peers.