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What other states can learn from Utah, Mormon culture

Published: Saturday, March 22 2014 6:25 p.m. MDT

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is encouraging people to learn multiple languages and help diversify the country.

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New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wants you to learn another language.

The columnist recently wrote that foreign languages, especially Spanish, are becoming more important in the United States, and Americans might do well to learn them. He said Utah's capital, Salt Lake City, is an example of a city mixing together with different languages — largely because of the high concentration of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who served missions abroad — and it’s something young people should pursue.

The Economist also chimed in recently on the benefits of learning a foreign language, supposing that being at least bi-lingual could increase the average American's retirement fund somewhere in the ballpark of $67,000 over the course of a career.

But for Kristof just learning another language for more economic success isn't enough. It's about cultural immersion.

"One of the aims of higher education is to broaden perspectives, and what better way than by a home stay in a really different country, like Bangladesh or Senegal?"

What makes Utah stand out, then, isn't just the language diversity but the "wealth of international experience," which, despite recent efforts to bolster study abroad programs, is in short supply in the American higher education system.

Read the full article at nytimes.com.

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