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Spanish, French, or Arabic in college?

CromwellMagnoCromwellMagno Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
I will be attending college soon and I'm still unsure which foreign language to study (almost a universal degree requirement).

Spanish - I have already studied it for five years, and am already at the point where I could easily survive in a Spanish speaking country. However, studying abroad could essentially make me fluent and could land me in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, etc.

French - As a speaker of both English and
Spanish, French would be rather easy and quick to learn. The options for studying abroad would be great too. However, it's typical to see Americans who know French, thus decreasing its employable value.

Arabic - I have always revered Arabic history and culture, and have many Arab friends. I believe studying Arabic would be a fulfillment of this reverence. However, it is obviously extremely difficult to learn and consumes a lot of time. Also, Morocco seems to be the only study abroad option. Yet, few know Arabic and thus it is extremely employable.

Considering that my career interests are international business/politics, and that I desire some fun in college, which choice would be the wisest?

Replies to: Spanish, French, or Arabic in college?

  • MandalorianMandalorian Registered User Posts: 1,754 Senior Member
    The arabic program is most likely going to be much smaller, but could be very helpful career wise if you go into government. I don't think there is too much difference between Spanish and French career wise.
  • UndercrackersUndercrackers Registered User Posts: 749 Member
    I would think Arabic would open a lot of doors for you.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 39,608 Senior Member
    See if you can do a short-term study abroad program (Jan term, summer, maymester) in a Spanish speaking country to solidify your language skills.
    As for Arabic, it's very difficult indeed. Check out Concordia Language Village, a 4-week camp Other lots of fun activities that'll allow you to start College Arabic on the right foot.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,366 Forum Champion
    A different opinion -- I would strongly consider staying with Spanish and becoming fully fluent in the language.
  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 2,800 Senior Member
    My D is in her 7th year of Spanish (nearly fluent) and second semester of Arabic. They are easy languages to take at the same time because they are so different. FWIW, she said that Arabic has proven to be one of her easier classes. When she was showing me the alphabet and how to compose words, it reminded me of shorthand and I had some fun showing her a bit about that. I doodle in shorthand so haven't forgotten it although I haven't used it since 1980 lol.
  • runner019runner019 Registered User Posts: 434 Member
    Choose Arabic! I've begun studying it and really enjoy it. As was mentioned, the classes are significantly smaller (which is great for language learning). Also, people who studied Spanish in college (or French for that matter) are becoming increasingly common. Arabic makes you far more competitive and opens doors that only a few others have access to, especially in the international political arena. The fact that you rose to the challenge of a language others find intimidating looks great on a resume, too.

    As far as difficulty goes, Arabic has a fairly high learning curve at first due to the unfamiliar alphabet and sounds. Once you get past that, though, it's really not so bad. I been surprised by how normal it seems. The caveat I would put on that is that I've been studying MSA only, and not a dialect. Because Arabic is a diglossia, it's a pain in the butt to become proficient in both the written/formal speaking register and a dialect. I figure that if I want to learn a dialect, I'll just have to dive into a country. (Although as someone interested in the political world, MSA will be important to learn!)

    The Moroccan dialect is significantly different from MSA and other dialects, and that can be perceived as a good or bad thing. (For me its bad, because I'm interested in visiting other countries). The general consensus is that the Levantine and Egyptian dialects are the least different from MSA. Regardless, none of them are SO different, since it's all considered one language. With regards to study abroad, don't limit yourself to your school's programs. Look into intensive language programs like CLS (hard to get into, but paid for) or CET. I'm sure there are even more programs like those. CET has a program in Jordan, and CLS has programs in Morocco, Oman, and Jordan.
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