Immersion Support Fund Drive

Immersion Benefits - Now and In the Future

What benefits does an Immersion Program offer our children? There are developmental benefits of course, stretching their fertile and flexible little minds. But how will that language proficiency, problem-solving (figuring out how to express ideas in a foreign language develops great problem-solving skillz!), and fostering a world view help our children in the long run? Let's talk future career prospects.

Here in the United States we've heard all our lives about how the world is becoming ever-smaller and how it's increasingly essential for current students and future employees to have working knowledge of a second language. Two recent newspaper articles suggest that this world is closer than ever.

In a 2012 Chicago Tribune article about demand for bilingual workers, author William Aruda noted that for Americans looking for job today, all other criteria being equal, the bilingual speaker comes out ahead. Aruda: "Knowing a foreign language shows that you are curious about other cultures or that you have a connection to another culture. When your credentials are identical to other candidates, having foreign language skills can help sway the hiring manager in your direction."

The preference among American companies for bilingual employees is mirrored by a dearth of same, particularly in government. In the 2012 Washington Post article Government has foreign language deficit, journalist Joe Davidson reported on a Senate panel on "A National Security Crisis: Foreign Language Capabilities in the Federal Government" in which then-Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) noted that national security agencies "continue to experience shortages of people skilled in hard-to-learn languages due to a limited pool of Americans to recruit from." The same article noted that in the State Department, the "need is particularly great for Near East, South Asian and East Asian languages." (Parents of Japanese immersion students, take note!)

What does this all mean for your children? It means that if they're able to continue with their language immersion education there are LOTS of employment opportunities out there for them—not just in government but also, per the Tribune article, in "banking and finance...health care, education and more."

Does it also mean that by giving your McD student a language immersion education you're really just laying the ground-work for her or him to ignore your parental commands from another continent? Maybe. But you're also giving their young, developing minds a workout routine that'll keep their brains healthy and sharp, thereby helping to give your children the world.

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