Benefits of learning a new language

11:03 AM


Few people know that back in high school, I also considered pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Languages. My favorite class was English because, to me, being able to communicate in a different language was incredible. I later decided that it was better to pursue a Communications degree and supplement it with learning languages out of the program. I had the opportunity to study Italian for a year -a language that I always loved- during my undergraduate years. It blew me away. I realized how much I enjoyed it and after graduating, I enrolled in French classes that I sadly had to pause because of moving abroad to do my master’s degree. Right now I’m in Munich studying German (finally!). 

While some people might think that “with English is enough”, I insist that learning new languages is much more than just communication. 

1. It helps you understand better a culture, their people and be more respectful – when you learn a new language, you are also taught on sociocultural aspects. You will be more tolerant and will know how to conduct yourself respectfully (and smartly) in a foreign country. 

2. It’s humbling - few things I dislike more than the sense of entitlement some English speakers portray when they visit foreign countries. Those who don’t even try to learn a few phrases in the local language or even the typical “Sorry, I don’t speak ___. Do you speak ___?”. Locals are more eager to treat you well when they see you show respect for their country and language. They are not required to understand you, nor talk to you in your language in their country.

3. It gives you freedom and confidence when traveling – you will not need to depend as much on a dictionary or on hoping that people will speak your language. You will also feel safer as it will be less likely to be fooled.

4. It’s great exercise for your brain – when you learn a new language, you start from scratch. It’s like going back to Kindergarten except, as adults, we don’t absorb information as fast. Due to the amount of details we have to memorize, it's stimulating for the brain. According to studies, learning a new language also improves your attention and even delays memory-related illnesses such as Alzheimer. Here’s a great article about it. 

5. It’s fun! – some people see the process as stressful but it doesn’t have to be. You will feel like a kid, learning vowels, sounds, numbers, and phrases. And when you finally manage to coherently express yourself, the feeling is great. It’s also hilarious when you try to find the equivalent of a phrase in your native language and it doesn’t even exist. 

6. It improves your resume and career opportunities – still not convinced by anything on the list? Then consider that, career-wise, in an ever-changing and hyper-connected world, the more languages you know, the more advantage you will have. 

So are you up to the challenge? Be your own superhero and learn and new language. You will never regret it. 

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Photo credit: the amazing Jalimar Febo from JFD Creations | Check her out: Instagram - Facebook

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