American Global Disinterest

1129 Words5 Pages
In an increasingly interconnected world, America remains alarmingly isolated due to cultural rigidity. Though often dubbed a “melting pot” of people and ideas (Wolff, 2), this is quite the misnomer. Most Americans have no experience with anything outside of the country. In fact, almost 64 percent have never travelled outside their own familiar borders (Fischl, 1) and less than 25 percent can speak a foreign language conversationally (Wolff, 2). This lack of global literacy comes at a high price. In order to thrive internationally in areas such as economics and politics, the United States needs people proficient in the global culture (Altshuler and Skorton, 1). Fortunately, through the cultivation of foreign language, integration of foreign literature, and encouraging international travel, these deficits can be overcome. There is a joke among many Europeans that goes as follows, “What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks only one language? American.” The message is, unfortunately, true. While Americans stay resolutely loyal to their mother tongue, a language native to only 5 percent of the world’s seven billion people (Wolff, 8), about half of Europe’s population speaks at least two languages (4). More than 80 percent of European students are multilingual (4) in a time when American schools are making cuts to foreign language education (Altshuler and Skorton, 2). Many high schools have curriculums that require students to study a foreign language for at least two years, in accordance with the admissions expectations of the average state university. However, this cursory education is not sufficient to facilitate... ... middle of paper ... ...rk Times, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. Fischl, Jack. "Why 64% Of Americans Have Never Left the U.S." PolicyMic. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. Gray, Robert. "Should Americans Read More Literature in Translation?" Words Without Borders. Amazon, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2014. Nardone, Mai. "Americans Love World Literature - Except When It's Foreign." PolicyMic. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. Okpomo, Kenneth. ""If You Talk to a Man in a Language He Understands, That Goes to His Head. If You Talk to Him in His Language, That Goes to His Heart." - Nelson Mandela." NUHA Foundation. N.p., 18 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2014. O'Shea, Joe. "Don't Go to College Next Year." Inside Higher Ed. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. "Quotes by Mark Twain." Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014. Wolff, Madeline. "Bilingualism Is Essential to Diversity." Daily Sundial. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2014.
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