Benefits of Learning a Second Language

It’s a small world after all, and it’s growing smaller.  With improving technology, our world is becoming more and more interconnected.  This means that learning at least one other language is becoming more and more critical to achieving our career goals.  But how exactly does learning a second language benefit us?  This week we will be discussing (how many?) ways in which becoming bilingual can help us, not only career-wise, but in our personal lives as well.

1. It Makes You Smarter

Research has shown that learning a language helps to keep your brain healthy.  People who know more than one language tend to be better at observing details and have improved memories.  Because of this, the average age at which bilingual individuals develop dementia is later than the average for monolingual individuals.  These findings were consistent amongst different genders, races, educational and income levels, and physical health.

2. Allows You to Make Connections

With the increasing intermingling across nationalities, knowing more than one language will allow you to make connections with many more people, whether they live in other countries or right next door.  Approximately 60 million US residents speak a language other than English.  Think of how many people you can better get to know right at home.

3. Better Travel Experiences

Learning a second language allows you to go where other tourists cannot.  You’re able to dig deeper into the culture and experience it firsthand.  As such, learning another language can increase your knowledge in other areas, including anthropology and history.

4. Builds Self-Confidence

Becoming fluent in a new language requires a lot of mistakes.  It also requires putting yourself out there, knowing that you will make mistakes.  By letting go and having the courage to talk to people, despite making a fool of yourself, encourages confidence.  On top of that, research shows that learning and mastering a skill, in and of itself, increases self-confidence.  With so many opportunities to build your confidence, why not go for it?

5. Improves Creativity

Learning a new language forces you, at times, to communicate in a variety of ways, particularly when you can’t remember the exact word you’re looking for.  Because of this, research shows that multilingual individuals tend to be more creative.  Learning a second language also allows you to get to know different cultures, which broadens your perception of the world and encourages new ways of thinking.

6. Improves Communication Skills

Learning grammatical rules in a second language allows you to better recognize grammar rules in your native language.  This enables you to learn to better communicate, not only in your second language, but in your primary language as well.  Good communicators are invaluable in the workplace.

7. Makes it Easier to Learn Even More Languages!

All these benefits can be multiplied by learning a third, fourth, and fifth language!  Studies show that once you’ve learned a second language it becomes much easier to learn other languages.  This is because by learning that second language you open new neuro-pathways in your brain, allowing for the information to come easier.  Why not continue to take that opportunity to discover new cultures, meet new people, and make deeper connections for as long as possible?