You often hear people mentioning that learning a foreign language can have huge benefits for your future. But what do they really mean? From career opportunities to keeping your brain healthy, there are many potential benefits to picking up a second language.
There’s always the case where people will ask why they need to learn a second language when “everybody speaks English anyway.” In this blog post, we explain why learning a language different from your own can really change your life.
Home and away career opportunities
By mastering a foreign language you can really broaden your future job prospects, either finding a job close to home, in a different city or different continent. Your chances of finding the job you want at home or abroad become much easier knowing that many of the biggest corporations, SME’s or startups now all require or encourage their employees to be multilingual.
It’s a requirement for many businesses today. In order for organisations to expand internationally, they’ll need a multilingual workforce to manage the expansion and overseas business areas. Check out this blog by Career Addict which outlines the best languages to learn for your career.
Travelling abroad made easier
Have you ever considered just travelling to South America or Southern Spain? Learning some of the basic phrases can really help you along. Don’t worry about making mistakes, the locals will understand you trying and this will be appreciated.
Learning a foreign language can make your travelling much smoother and enjoyable, allowing you to meet great people along the way. From ordering food to booking a taxi, you’ll feel much more relaxed knowing what you want and need!
Meet new people, friends, family and develop cross-cultural relationships
As mentioned before, by learning a second language it can really help you reach out to new and interesting people. If you’re not a very confident person, learning a language can help you break that barrier. You’ll be surprised and probably end up meeting like-minded people who you can relate to. By becoming multilingual, you’ll have a rare quality (or at least that is the outside perception) and you automatically become more interesting to others.
Travelling to meet your partner’s parents for the first time? Fear not, learning a foreign language could give you a massive confidence booster! From formal and informal conversations to greetings, if you can pick up a few words and phrases it will make things less daunting when meeting the new family for the first time.
There’s probably been a previous occasion where you’ve travelled abroad or gone on holiday and you’ve felt regret when having a conversation with someone from a different culture. You might have really got on well with this person but due to the language barrier, you ask yourself how much better it could have been if you knew that person’s native language.
By learning a new language, you also learn about that culture and this goes hand in hand. By understanding this new culture, it can open doors to other similar cultures and languages and the possibilities become endless.
Having said that, it’s not about knowing and understanding every language and culture in the world. Do you have the desire to understand more about other cultures? Do you want to connect with people from other cultures? If you answer yes to both then learning a new language is a great place to start.
Increasing your brain power
Numerous studies show that learning a new language can have many health benefits. There are a number of studies that confirm the benefits for your brain (regardless of your age) when acquiring a new language. This particular article shows that learning a new language can slow brain-ageing (BBC).
In another BBC article, neuroscientist Dr Thomas Bak illustrates how powerful our brains are and gives a great explanation of how much your brain is improving when learning a new language. He compares it to going to the gym and consistently using one machine to exercise on. When learning a new language, imagine your brain using 20 machines at once – that’s a lot of work! However, imagine the positive mental effects after only 12 months. Scientists have often said that learning a language can reduce the risk of health problems related to old-age.
Obviously, the benefits of learning a new language cannot be underestimated. With so many positive cognitive, social and career-building benefits, why not get started today?
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