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Should I study two languages in the IB?

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I am taking the IB next year, making me part of the class of 2015, and I have a question -- should i take two languages? I have studied German for four years and i love languages, and I really want to also take Spanish ab initio. Basically I am wondering whether or not two languages would be too difficult, or too much content to remember. I'm not sure and I need a second opinion. Thanks! :blowkiss:

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If you really love languages then the workload shouldn't be too much to handle, since you are doing something that you enjoy. Would you have German B or A? I don't have any experience with ab initio languages, but from what I've heard it definitely makes everything easier if you have a good teacher (as with all subjects to be honest.. XD ). A lot of my friends take 2 A languages and they seem to be doing fine, so I'm sure you would be able to manage the subjects very well. Good luck! :)

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I am yet to start IB Diploma so this won't be an advice based on IB experience, but on my own experience of learning languages.

So... Basically, you can do it. If you love languages, then I don't think there will be any problem. The only concern I have is your time management. Languages are not very hard to learn (although Ab initio is a very intensive course), however, one has to be in constant contact with them even outside of class in order to do really well. It is not only having a book and learning the grammar but you should also watch movies/series, listen to music, read... That may take time. I am sure you know how it is due to your German. If you have enough time, then having two languages should be relatively easy. Moreover, it should be a joyous experience since studying a language is basically doing what you like - watching movies/series, listening to music, reading.

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dude, how is doing two languages going to help you in the future? (not in a degrading tone) or put it this way, is your future going to revolve around languages or need those languages?

it's good that you enjoy languages, and may get a high score in it, but remember, with selecting subjects, you don't get many shots at it, and often if you select particular subjects you are barred from doing somethings in uni

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and also, since you live in AUs and I'm assuming that you are a native English speaker, you're actually taking 3 languages (English, german and Spanish ab)

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dude, how is doing two languages going to help you in the future? (not in a degrading tone) or put it this way, is your future going to revolve around languages or need those languages?

it's good that you enjoy languages, and may get a high score in it, but remember, with selecting subjects, you don't get many shots at it, and often if you select particular subjects you are barred from doing somethings in uni

I am definitely for studying languages, especially supporting her decision to study Spanish. Knowing a language helps you in whatever you choose to do later, even a science. Knowing a language enables you to use wider range of literature (be that literature about medicine, economy, a dramatic text or something else). Furthermore, it makes it easier to work for international clients. While the most of the people working with/for international companies do speak English, knowing their language flatters them and can be the final argument in talking them into choose you over some other candidate.

We should always keep in mind that Spanish is the 2nd biggest language (when it comes to native speakers) therefore a great range of academic books, studies, even web pages are written in it. Knowing Spanish, one could access them easily, no need to search for translations. Plus, Latin America will become even more important in future politics/business and they will most likely prefer working with people knowing Spanish. Employers from other parts of the world (American, European companies) will look for people knowing Spanish in order to do business with the South.

As for German, why stop now? After 4 years of learning the language, it would be silly of her to quit it. Moreover, if she ever has to deal with Europe, German is a crucial language, aside from English. At the moment, I would say that Germany is the strongest European country, politically and financially speaking. Knowing German would be a great plus.

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no no no; what I meant is if @sophie01 is thinking about doing anything related to science & maths, she really shouldn't pick double/triple languages because it would minimize her opportunity in uni. I know that fluent Spanish & german is a desirable skills to have but if it's nothing related to her future career, it's not really wise to pick that many languages. I see your point, but sometimes it's not necessary

and no, sometimes it doesn't. E.g. engineering needs chemistry or physics, and sometimes both. Medicine, quite frankly, needs chemistry or biology or physics, since I live in Australia I can only pick two of the above (it's pretty much an disadvantage for med student to not pick 2 science subjects as if they get 6 or 7 at HL, they have already studied the first year of their medical course or so, and I know for a fact that in India you have to do all 3 to be able to sit the entrance exam).

And even if you take languages, what advantages does it give you in terms of science? True you need great analytical skills and sometimes that comes from language A but for language Bs and ab initio you don't get that. And also, since it's not latin, I don't see how it contributes to studying apart from possible bonus points, which you can get by studing science subjects that you actually need anyway.

And no, language B doesn't vaguely help if you intend to go to a country without further studying, (yeah sure knowing Spanish AB is awesome, but look at how many native Spanish speaker is out there who also speaks fluent English) in combination with a science degree. And also I should point out that if you intend to go to, say Germany, for your masters or honours, whatever, you've gotta be fully fluent (at least at the standard of a bilingual diploma) otherwise you'd be struggling. Sorry, it's that way for me even though I was studying primary school in a foreign country.

Even though studying them may help, but keep in mind that it would've been a waste of time and effort if she didn't do what she wants to do at the beginning

and dude, I warn you, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the Scandinavian countries; Norway has the best benefit system in the world and as far as I know, they never had credit problems and they probably wouldn't have any in the future. Just because they are quiet, doesn't mean that they aren't strong/

moral of the story: if language is your pathsway, go for it, but if it's not, don't do it.

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Do you know any Spanish beforehand? I know that ab initio roughly means "from the beginning", but it's not necessarily as easy as it may sound.

I had been learning French for a year before choosing French ab initio at the IB, and at the mock exams I felt completely lost at all the vocabulary I had not yet learned.

If you know some Spanish already, however, it shouldn't be a problem.

It depends on what you would otherwise have chosen, too, and whether that would be a more practical choice.

But if you really love language it shouldn't be a problem. :D

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^Everyone is different. I thought the ab initio language I did (in 1 and a half years, compared to the usual 2 years) was pretty easy. I'd never learnt a single word of this language before and I found the whole course pretty easy to ace (although of course some work was involved in memorising vocab, grammar, phrases). Maybe it's just me, but I learnt enough vocab so that I could actually read almost every sentence in the text-handling texts in the exams and that paper was incredibly easy. Especially since you said you love languages, I personally don't think ab initio is that hard at all. In fact, I think an ab initio language would be 10 times easier than studying something like a second Science SL or Humanities SL, especially since you said you love languages. Doing another language would only be a bad decision if you're someone who struggles to learn languages, and judging by what you're saying about German, I'd say that's not you. :) Basically, I don't think it would be too difficult, and as about 'content to remember', you will have to put in some work to memorise vocab, grammar, phrases, but I didn't find it too much at all for my ab initio language.

Also, I do agree that learning multiple languages can be very advantageous in the future, although you should also consider what you want to do after uni. Med is a good example - if you want to do something like med, then it would probably more advantageous to do 2 sciences.

Hopefully I wasn't repeating too much of what anyone else said - I don't think anyone has presented this side of the ab initio perspective yet :P

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no no no; what I meant is if @sophie01 is thinking about doing anything related to science & maths, she really shouldn't pick double/triple languages because it would minimize her opportunity in uni. I know that fluent Spanish & german is a desirable skills to have but if it's nothing related to her future career, it's not really wise to pick that many languages. I see your point, but sometimes it's not necessary

and no, sometimes it doesn't. E.g. engineering needs chemistry or physics, and sometimes both. Medicine, quite frankly, needs chemistry or biology or physics, since I live in Australia I can only pick two of the above (it's pretty much an disadvantage for med student to not pick 2 science subjects as if they get 6 or 7 at HL, they have already studied the first year of their medical course or so, and I know for a fact that in India you have to do all 3 to be able to sit the entrance exam).

And even if you take languages, what advantages does it give you in terms of science? True you need great analytical skills and sometimes that comes from language A but for language Bs and ab initio you don't get that. And also, since it's not latin, I don't see how it contributes to studying apart from possible bonus points, which you can get by studing science subjects that you actually need anyway.

And no, language B doesn't vaguely help if you intend to go to a country without further studying, (yeah sure knowing Spanish AB is awesome, but look at how many native Spanish speaker is out there who also speaks fluent English) in combination with a science degree. And also I should point out that if you intend to go to, say Germany, for your masters or honours, whatever, you've gotta be fully fluent (at least at the standard of a bilingual diploma) otherwise you'd be struggling. Sorry, it's that way for me even though I was studying primary school in a foreign country.

Even though studying them may help, but keep in mind that it would've been a waste of time and effort if she didn't do what she wants to do at the beginning

and dude, I warn you, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the Scandinavian countries; Norway has the best benefit system in the world and as far as I know, they never had credit problems and they probably wouldn't have any in the future. Just because they are quiet, doesn't mean that they aren't strong/

moral of the story: if language is your pathsway, go for it, but if it's not, don't do it.

I agree that you should choose classes most important for your future career. If there are more subjects that are necessary or even just handy to have, they should be one's fist choice. However, if Sophie does not have more than one necessary/handy subject per group, then I do think languages are a very good choice, even if her future career is not directly connected to them.

Also, I agree that basic knowledge of a language does not mean much, fluency is required. However, not everyone was lucky enough to be able to know two language at group 1 level in their teens, but languages B are a good starting point for future fluency, if persistent enough. There are people who continue to learn their IB group 2 languages even after high school. And if someone is taking Spanish Ab initio along with another B language, it means that Spanish is their choice and that they are not taking it just because they have to have a Group 2 subject. In my opinion, a student like that is likely to continue their study of the language, becoming near fluent if not fluent in it.

Of course, if one plans to stop learning the language after finishing the IB, then I don't think two languages B are the best option.

Oh, yes, Scandinavian countries... They are great. I love going there, been there a few times :) I kind of forgot about them since here, in the Balkans, everyone is talking about Germany's power, all the time. Sorry :(

Edited by OldFashioned

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dude, how is doing two languages going to help you in the future? (not in a degrading tone) or put it this way, is your future going to revolve around languages or need those languages?

it's good that you enjoy languages, and may get a high score in it, but remember, with selecting subjects, you don't get many shots at it, and often if you select particular subjects you are barred from doing somethings in uni

Employers LOVE languages, especially Spanish and German as they are both big economices (South America is a huge emerging market). Don't be so naïve.

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Thanks so much for your replies! You have definitely helped.

I intend to take English Literature HL, German B SL and Spanish ab initio. My school doesn't have German A, and they have told our whole grade not to take language HL - so SL it is :)

I do plan to keep up languages after IB and my goal is to become fluent in both Spanish and German. I love learning languages and I do get good grades in it - last year I topped my German class. For that reason, I would be studying something I love and I would be maximising my final score (I need 39 for to uni course I want.)

I want to study psychology after school, and the uni I want to go to, Sydney Uni, has no prerequisites for the course. So I am thinking that I do what I love and what will get me the highest marks. I am also taking Psychology HL for this, and HL Chemistry too. I am trying to decide whether or not to take Spanish or biology - but I think i will go with Spanish. Biology is not required and my teacher says it is quite easy to pick up the necessary biology for psychology at uni.

Thanks to all of you, your perspectives have been really helpful :)

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