Governor Jack Markell told students in Linnea Bradshaw's Japanese class Tuesday that speaking multiple languages gives them a leg-up in the job market.
Delaware's Governor visited the Level II language class at Appoquinimink High School Tuesday morning to share his experiences in Japan and to take questions from the class he video-chatted with from the foreign country during his trip last year.
"Appoquinimink has been stellar with the fact students have to fit into a rapidly changing world," Markell told the class of 30.
Japan has a population of about 120 million and there are a lot of business ties between the United States and Japan, he said.
He added that research also shows that studying a second language helps with students' performances in school.
In December, Markell took a business trip to Miyagi, Delaware's sister-state in Japan, where he said he presented their Governor, Yoshihiro Murai, with a Wilmington Blue Rocks jersey.
"When I travel, I love to walk and appreciate all that is different and all that is similar," he told the students.
During the trip, the Markell's stayed in a traditional Japanese Inn, where they slept on futons on the floor and were served their meals in their room.
He said that the woman who served their meals only spoke one word in English, and that was "western breakfast."
Markell wasn't the only one in the room Tuesday who has experienced Japan.
Last summer, Bradshaw took 23 students from both Middletown and Appoquinimink High Schools to Japan to immerse them in the culture.
Bradshaw said that her highest-level students can speak sentences, and understand, write and read Japanese.
"In Japan it matters a lot if you smile," Markell said. "You use your hands a lot."
During his multi-city trip of the country, Markell, his wife, and staff, met with several businesses in the Miyagi area in hopes of building a stronger partnership between Delaware and Miyagi.
Something unique about Japan that the students were told is that the country respects its old traditions while continuing to develop new technology.
Markell told the students that he enjoyed spending time with Murai, who he said is only about five months apart from him in age.
"He a really smart guy," Markell said. "The Japanese are very hard workings. [Murai] said that he hasn't taken a day off in 25 years."
The Governor encouraged the students to travel if given the chance.
He said that he has not been out to the rural areas of the country yet, but would love to see the area where Mt. Fuji is.
Page 2 of 2 - "It can be a life changing experience," he said. "Take any opportunity you can to visit different cultures."