7 Reasons to Learn a New Language
In a globalized world, foreign language skills have become increasingly valuable in both the business world and personal life.
There are many different reasons why you may decide to learn a new language beyond merely making yourself understood, such as connecting with your heritage, an interest in different cultures and traditions or for personal development.
If you’re still on the fence about diving into that German for Beginners course, here are 7 good reasons to learn a new language:
1. More business opportunities and better job prospects
Knowing more than one language can give you a competitive advantage in a global economy. More and more companies are expanding into overseas markets and bilingual professionals are in high demand, often commanding higher salaries than their monolingual peers.
There may be some pressure to learn ‘useful’ languages such as Mandarin or Spanish, but ultimately the decision to learn a certain language is deeply personal.
Regardless of which language you choose to learn, being bilingual can set your resume apart from the crowd and make you more attractive to prospective employers. Having command of a second language demonstrates soft skills that are highly valued in the job market, such as creativity, problem-solving capabilities and cultural awareness.
2. Being bilingual can make you smarter and healthier
Yes, really! There is ample scientific evidence to support the cognitive benefits of bilingualism. Having a second language has been linked to improved memory and problem solving abilities, heightened concentration, better multi-tasking skills and higher environmental awareness.
Studies have also shown that being able to speak more than one language can delay the onset of neurological diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
In this TED Talk Mia Nacamulli details how knowing more than one language keeps your brain healthy.
3. It makes you more tolerant
Learning a new language expands your worldview and fosters an appreciation for a different culture and its people, history, religions and traditions. This makes you more empathetic, more tolerant of cultural diversity and an all-round better person.
4. Travel becomes easier and cheaper
Knowing the native language of the country you’re visiting can completely change your travel experience. It means you are not limited to popular (expensive) tourist traps, and can explore areas off the beaten track with a lot more confidence. You’re also less likely to be charged exorbitant tourist rates for transport, souvenirs (you can barter in the native tongue!) and accommodation.
5. More books and films to enjoy
Mastering a foreign language introduces you to a whole new world of literature, art, music and film.
This means more fandom pits to dig yourself into! Sure, you’ll likely be able to find these works in translation, but would you even have known of their existence if you hadn’t been exploring the language? Before I started learning Mandarin, I had no idea just how deep the Wuxia (武俠) rabbit hole went or just how amazing Chinese sci-fi is. I’m very glad I took the time to discover these fantastic genres.
The official trailer for the Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth (流浪地球), loosely based on Liu Cixin’s novella of the same name.
6. Make new friends
Language connects us all. Learning a new language allows you to interact with a whole new community of people you would not necessarily have come into contact with otherwise. Your language exchange partner, your classmates, the people you meet while travelling and even your teacher all have the potential of becoming a life-long friend.
7. The process itself is enjoyable
An often overlooked reason to learn a foreign language is simply that language learning is an enjoyable hobby. Even if you only speak to yourself, you can still find great joy and satisfaction in progressing your skills and immersing yourself in a new culture.