While learning a new language is great and helpful in life, colleges should not make foreign language classes a mandatory general education requirement. Doing so brings about a possibility of stress for students.
The main reason is there just isn’t enough time over one or two semesters to justify making students take the class. Learning a new language takes a lot of time and practice. How much will the average student know after one or two semesters of class? It may not be much, and it’s definitely not enough to make the class worth taking.
There also needs to be the motivation to learn a new language once you are an adult. Studies show that people must start to learn a new language by the age of 10 to become fully fluent in that language, according to Newsweek. That same study also showed that people past the age of 17 or 18 struggle to learn a new language at all.
If a student has no motivation to take the class other than to complete their general education requirement, they are just going to bring their grades down or learn enough to pass and probably never think about it again.
Another reason foreign language classes should not be mandatory is because they are completed during high school.
If a student enjoyed learning a new language in high school, there is a good chance they stuck with it and learned the language well or plan to continue it anyway. If a student did not do well in their foreign language class, they would just start at the beginning in college and take the same class a second time.
One should also consider that going to college is not a cheap investment. Making students take a class that is difficult to succeed in and undesirable is not a benefit for any student; it just adds financial strain and stress on students that are already possibly struggling financially or with stress.
While learning a new language is great, forcing students to attempt to learn one is not.