Students have an opportunity to learn a second language at Bob Jones University where they can take a range of language courses that help further their abilities and career potential.
The University offers courses in languages such as Spanish, French, German and Chinese. These courses help promote one of the main mission statements of BJU: “To foster spiritual, intellectual, social and physical development and cultural expansion of the individual.”
According to Jeremy Patterson, chair of the Division of World Languages and Culture, learning a second language enhances a person’s intellectual and social development.
“[Learning a second language] opens up cultures,” he said. “It’s good for your brain, it increases your communication opportunities, and it makes you a more well-rounded person.”
Patterson said that learning a second language provides students with new opportunities, including more job offers, more friendships and, most importantly, more ways to present the Gospel.
Amos Kasperek, a faculty member in the Division of World Languages and Cultures who teaches Spanish, pointed out the importance of developing cross-cultural relationships.
“Communicating to somebody in their own language is going to communicate that you care about them, even if it’s broken [speech],” Kasperek said.
Kasperek also talked about the benefits of developing relationships without needing a translator. While the Gospel is still effective through a translator, establishing personal relationships and talking to people face-to-face will make it clearer.
“The Gospel is all about a relationship, so it makes sense that God would expect us to be establishing relationships,” Kasperek said. “You can’t do that as well when you’re reliant on a translator.”
Once students begin to learn a new language, they can begin to use it in settings other than a classroom. For example, the University Language Association hosts events such as screenings of movies in different languages and dinners where students practice more of the language they are studying.
BJU also provides chances for language students to study abroad to enhance their understanding. Jewel Schuurmans, a senior journalism and mass communication and French double major, has the opportunity of going to France this upcoming summer on a BJU study abroad trip to Paris.
“While I’m in France, … I’d like to be able to develop my media skills, but we’re required to only speak French, so I’ll have to do that by keeping my French language skills up to par,” Schuurmans said.
Learning a second language can tremendously help further one’s career. Shawn Albert, the director of Career Services, said being fluent in a second language will always set one apart from other candidates seeking the same job. He said that hospitals, law firms and police departments benefit the most from bilingual employees.
Albert said knowing a second language while working for an international company, such as BMW or Michelin, would be very important.
“Knowing a second language, especially the second language of where you serve, is extremely valuable,” Albert said.