Learning a foreign language can open up exciting travel and employment opportunities, expand your social circles and even help you to find love. What’s more, with the world becoming increasingly more global, there has never been a better time to join the 43% of bilingual people around the globe. Consequently, here are five benefits of learning a foreign language for the mind, body and soul.
See Below for our 5 benefits of learning a foreign language!
1. Better travel experiences
Firstly, one of the benefits of learning a foreign language is that being bilingual will open up a new world of travel opportunities. For example, speaking French will allow you to travel comfortably around France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada and a number of African countries, while speaking Spanish will enable you to explore Spain and South America – connecting you to the local people and giving you a more ‘off the beaten track’ experience. Knowing a second language will not only give you more travel options, but will also help you to meet other interesting people aside from other English speakers. Whether you are fluent in the local language or are looking to improve your skills, staying with a local host while travelling can offer you an immersive experience in the language and culture.
2. Better Career Prospects
According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, being bilingual opens up a range of career opportunities in the field of sales, marketing, tourism, law, teaching, public relations, transportation and government. What’s more, speaking a second language will give you the upper hand over other monolingual candidates in the job market, where bilingual candidates are considered to have increased cultural sensitivity, leading to better employee relationships. Adding a second language to your skill-set will also benefit you financially, with recruitment agency ‘Euro London’ claiming that speaking a foreign language ‘can add between 10% and 15% to your wage.”
3. Better Relationships
Speaking a foreign language will not only develop your self-confidence, but will enable you to become part of two diverse communities – making you smarter, more creative and giving you more opportunities for friendships and love. According to a study by Susan Ervin-Tripp in her research paper – ‘Emotion in Bilingualism’, some bilinguals have reported feelings of having ‘two separate personalities’. In this sense, she explains that ‘When we are in situations demanding a change in language, we may have a strong sense of a shift in values and feelings.’ Consequently, being bilingual can help you to sense new emotional perspectives in life – where language becomes a tool for understanding your own beliefs and passions, enabling you to communicate better with other people and yourself.
4. Improved Health
One of the other benefits of learning a foreign language is that knowing a second language will help to boost your brain power and protect your mental health. What’s more, being bilingual actually helps to build more neuron receptors in your brain – improving memory, creativity and concentration. The skill of being able to switch between two different languages will also keep your brain healthy in old age, where researchers have found that the higher the level of bilingualism, the later the age of onset of dementia and other symptoms of alzheimer’s.
5. Language Learning is Fun!
Whether you decide to learn independently or as part of a group – language learning is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. There are many ways you can learn a new language depending on your learning style. For visual learners, there are several language learning apps and flash card games which can be a fun and interactive way of picking up the basics of a language. For those who prefer audio learning, listening to language learning podcasts can also be an interesting way of learning on the move. What’s more, you can make language learning fun through watching movies, reading books and listening to music in your chosen second language!
With several benefits coming hand-in-hand with language learning, there is no reason why you shouldn’t become part of the bilingual world. It doesn’t matter what age or stage of life you are at – it is never too late or difficult to start learning a second language. By adding a foreign language to your skill-set, you will improve your quality of life through building better relationships, securing more exciting career opportunities and enjoying more fulfilling adventures abroad. So what are you waiting for? Take a step out of your comfort zone and start learning a language today!