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Foreign Language for Returning Student

  1. Jul 14, 2010 #1
    All,

    I received a BS in Aviation about three years ago. Needless to say, had I known at the time, I would have chosen something a little different. I'll be returning this Fall to pursue a Physics degree with a minor in Mathematics.

    During my previously bachelors, I took three years worth of Japanese language courses and spent a calendar year abroad in Japan. Due to my prior bachelors, I have a couple of physics & mathematics courses waived. (Not nearly enough to justify a jump right into a masters, but that's life.) I also have all of my general requirements waived. That leaves me with quite an open schedule and allows me a little flexibility as to what I'd like to take.

    I had planned to continue with a foreign language, but have been running into a few issues. I've read plenty of threads here on PF about the subject, but I've reached an impasse of sorts. Although I spent a couple of years working up to an advanced / intermediate skill level as far as Japanese is concerned, a lot of that has faded away over the last couple years. I used to be very decent and had an incredibly natural accent.

    To all of you out in industry and graduate school, does it even really matter? I'll admit that the thought of taking French and giving myself a chance to work at the LHC in the distant future is a bit of a fantasy. Unlikely, but I'd regret not giving it my all and seeing just how far I can take this.

    Does a foreign language really even matter? I'm floating the idea of taking a 3-4 year regiment of French, but many friends are disheartened that I'm walking away from Japanese after all of these years. I took some French in high school many years ago, but that's mostly floated away at this point. My concern is that French might be more useful overall in comparison to Japanese. Yes, it'll be as useful as you make it... But surely one will provide more utility than the other?

    What say ye, PF? Resume my prior studies and continue the difficult march toward fluency with Japanese? Or scrap it altogether and opt for a European language? I'm torn on the subject, and any advice would be appreciated. My schedule has been planned for the next few years, and sadly enough, there isn't room for both of them. Rather than be subpar in two languages , I'd prefer to excel in one of them. I don't think there's any room for triage here.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
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