Learning an extra foreign language was the best decision I ever made. Here are 10 benefits of learning a language that will convince you to take the plunge and improve your life.
1. More authentic travel
Having the ability to speak the language of the area you are travelling to has an unlimited number of advantages. Firstly, those who can communicate effectively with waiters and staff can expect to receive better service. Furthermore, it opens up the possibility to experience tourism on a less saturated and more local level. Knowing the local language of your holiday destination can break down social barriers and allow you to see local life from a more cultural perspective.
2. After learning one, it is 100x easier to learn another
This is my absolute favourite fact about learning languages. Once you become fluent in your chosen language, it becomes so much easier to learn another one! The techniques you pick up when learning your second language are easily transferable to any other. Moreover, you develop something called metalinguistic awareness, where your brain learns to recognise the processes involved in learning a new language and breaks them down into a series of steps. Thus, it is easy to transfer your linguistic knowledge across languages.
3. Decision making is easier in a foreign language
A study from the University of Chicago found that we are able to make more rational decisions with less bias when thinking in a foreign language. How cool is that?
4. It can protect against cognitive decline
More and more studies show that bilingualism can help you delay or even prevent cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s disease. If you speak two or more languages, regardless of your education level, you are more likely to delay any development in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, or even prevent them fully.
5. It improves your first language
Learning a new language makes you more conscious of the formation of your mother tongue. Personally, I learnt so much more about the English grammar, sentence structure, different cases, and even idioms through learning German and Ukrainian.
6. Meeting new people
When you learn a new language, you open up numerous doors around the world. Having the ability to travel to different countries and meet new people there will not only broaden your personal network, but it will also provide you with useful links within your professional sphere.
7. Employers love it
There is no question that employers love those who can speak more than one language. It can also lead to higher pay, with studies showing that those with language skills on average earn an extra 10-15% .
8. Being bilingual can make you a better multitasker
Several studies have shown that bilingual children and even adults can switch tasks much quicker, mainly because they switch between languages frequently and their brain is better adapted to limiting distractions.
9. Connecting with your heritage
If you are tempted to pick up a new language that is linked to your personal heritage, I would 100% recommend you do so. Not only will you be able to reconnect with your culture and family history, but you can also create stronger bonds with your relatives if you speak the same language. Maybe your grandparents speak your mother tongue as their second language, so if you learn their first language you can have deeper conversations.
10. Being bilingual may make your brain bigger
Recent research suggests that speaking more than one language could make your brain bigger. Like any other muscle, the brain increases in size when it is exercised. Speaking and reading in a foreign language are one of the best exercises you can do.
Why learn a second language? Because it is life changing
If you can not already tell by these 10 reasons, learning a second language will dramatically improve your life. It could lead to a new job, new friends, better travel experiences, and even a new life! The only thing stopping you is your determination.
So now you know the 10 benefits of learning a language, which one will you be learning?