Many counselors in both high school and college urge countless students each year to enrich their educational experiences by studying a foreign language. In addition to looking great on college and work applications, the process of learning a foreign language brings with it a list of positive benefits. Here are five incredible benefits of learning a foreign language.
1. A Boost in Brain Power
Learning a foreign language has been linked to increased performance in other academic areas and to improved memory and cognitive ability. People who speak two languages have demonstrated better problem-solving skills, increased memory, critical thinking, and other impressive qualities.
An interesting fact is that bilingual individuals have shown the ability to hold their attention on a subject for 20 percent more time than people who speak one language language alone. The brain benefits greatly from the challenge of communicating with two different languages. The improvement to the bilingual person’s cognitive abilities will be clear in all aspects of their life moving forward.
2. More Career Opportunities
The global nature of today’s world means that the ability to speak a second language fluently is a valuable skill. Many job opportunities in America and other countries are better suited for employees who can communicate with clients and customers in multiple languages.
A study performed by MIT shows that bilingual individuals earn a significant amount more over their lifetimes than unilingual individuals. The job seeker that can list a second language on their resumes gives themselves a true advantage over otherwise equally qualified candidates who speak a single language.
3. A Portal to Another Culture
Studying a second language exposes an individual to many of the cultural traditions of the people whose language they’re studying. The awareness of another culture opens the door to establishing rich new relationships. The discovery of interesting traditions and histories of other cultures are also made possible through language learning.
An added benefit for bilingual individuals is the ability to immerse themselves immediately into other cultures when traveling to a country where the language is spoken.
4. Improvement in General Language Use
The process of learning a second language requires individuals to pay close attention to the tenses, grammar, and structures presented by the new language. The study of these mechanics in the second language will help individuals become more aware of these issues in their primary language. In effect, learning a new language causes an individual to become a better speaker and writer of every language they know.
5. Enhanced Networking Abilities
Making oneself open to new cultures encourages an individual to be more appreciative of the opinions and actions of other people. Bilingual individuals are able to view world issues from a second viewpoint and develop an enhanced ability to communicate with a greater amount of people.
Students are sometimes reluctant to study a new language due to a lack of understanding regarding the possible benefits to them. A quick peek at the benefits detailed above makes it obvious that learning a new language is well worth the effort.