While we all might remember sitting in our language class in high school, trying not to fall asleep, wondering when we will ever use this language in our “real” life. However, despite what your high school self might think, there are several benefits to learning a new language. It might be a challenging experience, but in the end, there is always a huge reward, Not only does it expose you to a different culture and a different way of looking at the world, but it also gives you a better way of connecting and communicating with those who come from different background than you. (Not to mention all of the new jokes that you can understand when you learn a new language.) So while the journey of learning a foreign language can be difficult at times, it is ultimately enriching and fulfilling. Here are three reasons why you should try to learn a new language, no matter how old you are.
Broaden Your Perspectives
Languages are interconnected to the cultures where they are from and are a vital part of understanding who people are. By learning a new language, you are interacting with those different cultures and people, which will allow you to gain insight into them and their different ways of life. Through language, you are gaining an insight into different concepts and thought patterns from those cultures because so much of how we understand the world is controlled by language. By learning their language, you can peek at what they value or how they see the world differently from you. You can also appreciate more aspects of their culture like foreign poetry, literature, and movies in the original language. This helps foster awareness, empathy, and an open mind for the people you encounter.
Being bilingual also has many practical benefits for you as well. Being able to speak and understand multiple languages allows you to connect with so many more people, whether this be in your personal or professional life because the ability to communicate with more people will open you up to new connections, friendships, and relationships. Not only that, but it also enhances your job prospects because it enables you to connect with clients or customers who speak that language. Many companies will give you a better salary if you are able to put more than one language on your resume. It is also just good to have a way to stand out when you are looking for jobs, and learning a language is a great way to stand out because it has so many versatile applications in the workforce. Another great reason to learn a language is that it will open the door to awesome foreign travel experiences because you will be able to traverse different countries with ease.
Mental and Cognitive Advantages
Research shows that bilingualism improves cognitive abilities and mental function, which is the cherry on top when learning a new language. Bilingual individuals are better at focusing, multitasking, and pattern recognition. Being bilingual can also delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also enhances creativity by promoting abstract and divergent thinking. Language is also stretching your brain, whether it be reading, speaking, or listening, so learning more than one language will give your brain an even greater challenge, allowing it to grow stronger than ever.
So while yes, learning a foreign language will take dedication and hard work, the rewards are well worth all of the effort that you will go through. Through the process, you will gain useful skills, broaden your perspectives, enhance your cognitive abilities, and lead a more enriched life in general. So go ahead and learn a new language—it will open you up to a world of opportunities and experiences that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. The journey may not always be easy, but it will be fulfilling and help you grow as a person.