Does the process of studying foreign languages make one better able to understand the difficulties faced by people coming into a new country?
The more time devoted to attaining fluency in foreign languages, especially in an academic environment, the more immersed the average foreign language student becomes in the cultures and traditions of the countries the languages of which he or she is studying. As one progresses towards foreign language fluency, the requirements of learning those cultures and traditions, including the literature and arts of those cultures, becomes increasingly intense. The level of commitment needed to become fluent in one or more foreign languages rarely occurs in an intellectual vacuum. Multilingual individuals are almost always highly interested in world affairs, or are themselves either immigrants or the offspring of immigrants. Either way, sensitivity to foreign cultures, including the languages that sprang from those cultures, is often associated with openness towards the immigrant experience. The more an individual has invested emotionally in mastering foreign languages and cultures, the more receptive he or she generally is to understanding the unique plight that accompanies the immigration experience, especially, but not solely, when the immigrants in question are from a country the language of which the individual has spent time and energy studying. For this reason, multilingual individuals are better adapted to appreciate the difficulties most immigrants experience attempting to assimilate into a new culture themselves.