I believe learning a foreign language could help reduce mistrust and fear between people. Often when people come across something they don’t understand, fear can be at the surface. When people are afraid or unsure of something, the likelihood of them reacting defensively increases. The same applies to language. We are seeing more and more that if people learn a foreign language they become more understanding of others and are more open and relaxed when facing language and cultural differences.

On the Auburn University, Department of Foreign Languages & Literature website, it lists 25 reasons to study a foreign language. Four of their points are listed below.

The study of foreign languages teaches and encourages respect for other peoples: it fosters an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature. Foreign languages expand one’s view of the world, liberalize one’s experiences, and make one more flexible and tolerant. Foreign languages expand one’s world view and limit the barriers between people: barriers cause distrust and fear. Foreign language study leads to an appreciation of cultural diversity

In addition to these, there are many more benefits that come with learning a foreign language. We become better equipped to handle and be understanding of the challenges that come from language and cultural barriers.

With this in mind, I would ask people to make a concerted effort to learn a foreign language to expand their horizons.

Ruth Knox