Today's students must be prepared to operate in a global society, and language study is an important part of preparing them to meet the demands of an ever-changing world.
As stated in the profession's national goals, communication is at the heart of second language study, whether the communication takes place face-to-face, in writing, or across centuries through reading of literature. Through the study of other languages, students gain a knowledge and understanding of the cultures that use that language; in fact, students cannot truly master the language until they have also mastered the cultural contexts in which the language occurs.
Learning languages provides connections to additional bodies of knowledge that are unavailable to monolingual English speakers. Through comparisons and contrasts with the language studied, students develop greater insight into their own language and culture and realize that multiple ways of viewing the world exist. Together, these elements enable the student of languages to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world in a variety of contexts and in culturally appropriate ways. As is apparent, none of these goals can be separated from the other. (National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 2006, p. 31)