In today’s fast-paced and technological world, people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and languages are interacting now more than ever before. What used to take weeks to communicate via letter can now be accomplished in mere minutes through a text message.
This means if you want to keep up with the world today, learning another language could be a great first step. Not only can learning a second language have a multitude of personal benefits in your life, but it can also have a profound impact on your relationships with the people around you. There’s no doubt about it: If you want to live a more knowledgeable, cultural and altruistic lifestyle, then learning another language has big benefits in store.
1. Boost Brain Power
You might already know this, but learning another language significantly boosts brain power. A language has a completely new set of intricate rules, systems and lexis. Navigating these structures makes your brain cope with complexity and absorb new patterns. As you continue to grow in the language and endeavor to communicate, you develop key learning skills such as cognitive thinking and problem-solving.
2. Improve Memory
Your brain is like a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it will be. Learning a language not only requires you to become familiar with rules and vocabulary, but it also makes you work harder to remember that knowledge and apply it on the spot. This might be why studies have shown bilingual people to be better at remembering shopping lists, names and directions. While you workout your brain, your memory grows stronger, too.
3. Build Multitasking Skills
Studying a second language requires your brain to switch back and forth between two systems of speech, writing and structure. You constantly open one filing cabinet, then the other, then back again. One study from Pennsylvania State University determined this “juggling” skill makes bilingual speakers excellent multitaskers, because they can easily switch between structures. As you learn a new language, you might discover your multitasking skills improve.
4. Impress Employers
If there’s one way to get ahead in the job market, it’s learning another language. Bilingual employees are in hot demand because of their ability to communicate with multiple job markets. Bilingualism is a valuable skill set employers look for, so by learning a second language, you can significantly increase your chance of getting a call back. Not to mention, learning a new language shows your dedication and motivation to develop new skills.
5. Gain a New Perspective
By learning a second language, you have more opportunities to absorb content from new sources. For instance, travel to a country that speaks the language and practice. Or, watch television shows and read books in the language. Or, check in your community to meet neighbors near you who speak the language. All of these interactions allow you to gain new and different perspectives on life, which can strengthen your emotional wellbeing.
6. Meet More People
When you speak a second language, you have the opportunity to meet even more people! Get to know those around you who speak the language, volunteer with an organization that prioritizes the language, help native speakers learn your language… the list goes on. By learning another language, you broaden the scope of the people you can meet and positively influence. This provides opportunities to live a more altruistic life.
There are a multitude of both personal and relational benefits which come alongside learning a second language. If you’ve ever considered learning another language, keep these benefits in mind as you dive into the world of possibilities.