Learning a second language provides a ‘bilingual bonus’

The value of mastering a second language will be underscored in “A Second Language: More Than You Bargained For,” a talk by Richard D. Brecht, internationally recognized expert on language policy and research in academe and the government, which will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 4:30-6 p.m. in New London Hall 101.

Brecht advises students with valuable language skills to “double down” on their investment with advanced level coursework, increased usage and immersion in the foreign culture, and stresses that a second language provides a person with a “bilingual bonus.”

Marc Forster, director of the College’s Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA), which is sponsoring the lecture, said “Dr. Brecht's expertise in second language acquisition, language policy, and issues of language and national security and his long career advocating for language learning and the development of cultural competency meshes perfectly with the mission of both CISLA and the new Otto and Fran Walter Commons for Global Study and Engagement.”

More than 55 percent of Connecticut College students study abroad—one of the highest percentages of any liberal arts college in America—and the College offers 11 different languages. Distinctive and academically challenging, the Toor Cummings Center allows students to internationalize their majors through intensive language study and a funded international internship, a research project, and bestows a certificate upon completion.

For more information, contact Cara Masullo, cara.masullo@conncoll.edu.

Richard D. Brecht Biography

Currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland, Richard D. Brecht is Co-Director of the American Councils Research Center, a think tank devoted to providing evidence for language policy and management decisions in education and the workplace. Brecht is also Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer of Global Professional Search Inc., a business connecting employers to job seekers with bilingual proficiency, international experience, and intercultural understanding.

Brecht was the founding executive director of the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) and, prior to founding CASL, was the Director of the National Foreign Language Center and, earlier, the National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages. He is a recognized authority on learning in overseas immersion and is acknowledged internationally for developing and overseeing a wide range of national and international initiatives in educational development, training, and research. A champion of “America’s Languages,” Brecht works to strengthen language and global competency across education, government, business, and the nation’s indigenous and heritage communities.

Brecht is the author of numerous books and articles on language policy, second language acquisition, and Russian linguistics. He has received awards from national and international organizations in the language field, including the Pushkin Medal from the International Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature. An expert in language and national security, Brecht has testified before Congress in matters of language preparedness, national security, international education, and higher education. He has also been frequently cited in the New York Times and other prestigious national newspapers.

Brecht received his bachelor of arts degree in Russian, summa cum laude, from the Pennsylvania State University in 1965 and his doctorate in Slavic languages and literatures from Harvard University in 1972.


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September 29, 2017