Every new skill we acquire makes us more competent and gives us some sort of leverage in life. This is especially true for foreign languages. With people traveling, studying abroad and doing business with foreign companies more than ever, it’s only logical that they are ready to invest their time and patience into learning new languages. Add to this the fact that you can now get online classes from native speakers of any language, and you really don’t have an excuse not to start learning a foreign language yourself. Here are some of the most significant benefits of doing just that.
Improves your memory
If you’re looking for brain food, just start learning a new language and you’ll be fine. Namely, there are various cognitive benefits of learning foreign languages. First of all, your memory improves, since you use your brain more, which makes it function better. While tackling the vocabulary and rules of the new language and using the newly acquired knowledge in practice, you’re giving your memory a nice exercise session on a daily basis. And when your brain is properly exercised, it should be much easier for you to remember all those names, figures and data that you sometimes so quickly forget.
You learn other things along the way
Learning a language is something you do by reading texts, listening to various dialogues, radio shows, lessons, etc. and, of course, by talking to other people in that language. Through this reading, listening and speaking, you come across with a lot of new information regarding not only the language itself, but the culture, history and geography of people who speak it. So, by learning a new language, you’re also broadening your knowledge about different countries and famous people who come from those countries, which includes artists, scientists and many historical figures.
It enhances your academic success
When you combine improved cognitive and communication skills with the extended knowledge of other cultures, it’s no wonder that learning a new language can improve your success in other academic areas. Generally, multilingual students do better in different subjects than their monolingual peers. This is something parents all over the world know and use to their kids’ advantage. For instance, the Chinese understand the value of quality education and learning English, so language centers such as the acclaimed Monkey Tree in Hong Kong offer courses for children as young as two and a half, so that they can speak English fluently by the time it really starts to matter.
It provides you with more career opportunities
Adding a foreign language you can speak to your CV can give you an upper hand over other candidates for the same work position. Any employer will be more than happy to hire somebody who can communicate with clients or even business partners from another country. Plus, people who speak more than one language usually have great communication skills and are able to network better than those who only speak their mother tongue, which is also something any business owner will appreciate. Finally, if you can’t find a job in your own country, being fluent in another language might open doors for you all over the world, giving you more choices of where you’ll work and live.
Keeps you sharp longer
Another benefit of learning new languages is that it helps you hold off mental aging, as well as cognitive decline. Apparently, the onset of dementia appears about four years earlier in people who are monolingual than in those who speak more than one language, no matter what their education, gender or even physical health care. The reason for this may be in the neural pathways. When learning a language, their number in your brain increases, allowing you to process information better. Dealing with the words and grammar of a brand-new language may make your brain healthier, which is a reason more to pick a language and give it a go.
It makes you feel good
As it is with anything you learn, it sometimes comes down to trial and error. In case of languages, this means that you’ll sometimes mispronounce a word, use some rule the wrong way, or simply say something silly. It may sound weird, but this can actually boost your confidence. Making mistakes is merely a part of the learning process, and when it happens in front of other people, you push your limits and exit your comfort zone. This can lead to a great sense of achievement and pride. Plus, the very process of learning a language can be very pleasurable and fun, no matter your age, which can additionally improve your mood.
The benefits are all there. So, what are you waiting for? Start learning a new language today.