We live in a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected through international institutions and organizations, trade and commerce practices, advancement in information technology, and an expanding exchange of ideas, goods and services. American companies and other international corporations are seeking to reach local markets in a competitive and globally world, and the way to get to those markets in through the local cultures and languages. No wonder, then, that Microsoft has been busy working with African institutions in developing software in selected number of African languages. At the same time, African countries are now the fastest growing economies in the world, and are seeking greater access to the more developed markets for the transfer of goods and technologies. This exchange of ideas, good and services, which could be said to have resulted in the so-called “Arab spring,” has triggered an unprecedented transnational migration of Africans to other parts of the world and especially the United States, forming new dynamics in the concept of the African Diaspora and a new impetus in the dispersal of African cultures and languages. The state of Ohio, for example, has recently witnessed an explosive upsurge of immigrants from Somalia, leading to new challenges for the study and future of African languages in the American academy from the point of view of language pedagogies, motives of African language learning, the integration of technology in African language instruction, funding for sustainability, the programming of study abroad projects and the conceptualization of immersion programs.
The study of foreign languages and cultures is an efficient means of helping students become educated, productive, and principled citizens of their nation and the world. The learning objective of foreign cultures is for students to recognize cultural differences in cultures other than their own, and demonstrate an appreciation of these differences.
For additional information regarding careers in foreign languages please visit the Center for Languages Literatures and Cultures website.