Opening new opportunities through French
Janice Lewison, Contributor
For too long, something in our culture has made it difficult for many Jamaicans to learn a foreign language.
Some cannot see the relevance; many think that it is too hard to learn, and even some adults who desire to learn believe that they are too old to grasp the dynamics of the language.
Nothing is impossible for a determined mind. It is now the time to wake up and recognise the numerous benefits in learning French.
Research has shown that the study of French, as a result of the effort that is required to learn the language, develops the critical and creative thinking skills.
Pupils who excel in French also show a marked tendency of excelling in other subjects as a result of improved memory, self-discipline, heightened analytical skills and self-esteem that is developed while learning the language.
There is also a direct correlation in the improved expression in English and the cognitive skills as a result of the grammar rules taught in French.
We live in a global village with a seemingly unending recession staring at us. Are our young people making themselves marketable? The world is very dynamic. Emerging opportunities will now take us to less traditional shores where the knowledge of a foreign language is critical to compete.
Jamaicans are travelling more as a result of participating in different sports and competitions. Wouldn't the experience for our athletes and their entourage be more fulfilling with further opportunities opened up for them if they were able to communicate in French when they attend any meet in France?
Students should be aware that speaking French opens up opportunities for accessing scholarships, study and work opportunities in a number of French-speaking countries.
Be reminded as well, that in the eyes of the employer, having qualification in French looks very impressive on a résumé.
This is often a factor which will give you that edge over your competitor thus enabling you to land that scarce commodity called a 'job'.
A second language is now simply a basic requirement for acceptance in many tertiary institutions overseas.
The knowledge of French enhances and widens one's career, vacation and even marriage options.
Too many Jamaicans are still stuck on places such as The Bahamas, Trinidad, Barbados, Canada, the United States and England.
It is time to explore other options like Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, Quebec, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Madagascar and West African countries.
How long will we allow this language to be a barrier? The knowledge of French will open many doors for you, increase your network of friends, and create business opportunities when you travel.
The Haitians are continuously landing on our shores. The Jamaica Constabulary Force has now taken proactive action by enrolling some of its members in courses to learn French in order to effectively communicate with these 'visitors'.
Our law enforcers are seeing the critical importance of being able to understand French in order to deal with this high level of migration.
As a new year approaches, challenge yourself, broaden your horizons, create new interests, explore new travel options and create exciting opportunities by learning French. It is quite easy and fun to learn.
Janice Lewison is a teacher of French at a school in Mandeville, Manchester. For further information send your email to email@example.com