Knowing a language means …
Knowing a language means many things, but mostly that you can use it to communicate— to express yourself and to understand others. Which means that you can do obvious things like speak, listen, read and write. But it also means you can do and know a whole lot more: you know what gestures mean, you know where to go to buy food, you can follow a dance instructor's explanations.
As these 3rd year French students are discovering on a field trip to the international NGO, Mercy Corps, in Portland, the sum of those abilities, communicating in a foreign language, is your ticket to participating in a globalized world, our world today.
Pre-Covid a panel of distinguished Duck alums with backgrounds in languages, and working and living abroad gathered at UO to discuss this notion from a longterm perspective: What does knowing another language enable you to do in your career? To know no one's surprise, the answer is "quite a lot".
As you can see in the video below, the panelists offer some compelling testimony on the value of pursuing a foreign language and understanding what that means.