"To have another language is to possess a second soul."
— Charlemagne

Why Languages?

Michael Loriaux, Political Science Professor at Northwestern, elegantly answers this question: “If you speak English, the whole world will understand you. But if you speak only English, you will never understand the world.”

Read on to understand what he means.

Faculty Spotlight

Nina Kraus

Northwestern auditory neuroscientist Nina Kraus [top] teamed up with bilingualism expert Viorica Marian [bottom] to investigate how bilingualism affects the brain. Their recent study found that bilinguals are more advanced in encoding language sounds and patterns.

Learn Languages

A professor teaches in Berlin, credit IPD
NU student in Uganda, credit IPD
In Japan, fashion can sometimes be out-of-ordinary
NU student gives a presentation at Global Health event, credit IPD
Meeting the locals in Uganda, credit IPD
A guide in Berlin engages NU students, credit IPD
Two students test some new calligraphy brushes, ink, and paper in one of Kresge's Chinese classes. , credit Mark Schaefer
A NU student gets to teach students in Uganda, credit IPD

Three quarters of the world’s population speak two or more languages.

Knowing only English substantially limits your global communication skills. Speaking a second (or third or fourth!) language broadens your horizons, opening many different doors for you. In addition to the obvious cognitive and intellectual benefits, being multilingual and intercultural increases employment opportunities. Government and national security agencies are in constant search for bilingual workers; multinational corporations, NGOs, and non-profits prefer multilingual candidates with global experience. Bilingual health professionals are always in high demand.  Moreover, graduate study and academic fellowships often require substantial foreign language skills.

Learn more about the benefits of being multilingual and how you can get started (or continue) with languages right here at Northwestern.