Speaking more than one language is not only a great skill; it's become a necessity. The benefits of being multilingual are endless and there are zero excuses to not learning another language with today's resources and tools. We decided to ask the experts to share their thoughts on foreign language studies.
Although the list can go on, we chose to focus on 8 key benefits of learning a second language. Our experts provided their insight relevant to their experiences in education, foreign languages, and travel.
1) Learning another language opens your mind to different cultures
"Learning another language, in today's day and age is more accessible than ever. Whether you invest in a program like Rosetta Stone, utilize DuoLingo or watch YouTube videos; all of these avenues open the learner's minds to the reality of people who speak that language and how they live. For instance, if you're learning Spanish and you are planning a trip to Mexico, you will learn a Spanish and experience customs that are a little bit different than if you were to go to the Dominican Republic or Spain. The learner has to be aware of these aspects when learning a different language.
As an educator, I've seen how globalization is ever so present. The idea of opening up your classroom walls to other parts of the world is growing more and more each year. It's imperative that we understand how to navigate through these differences so we can communicate effectively because, at the end of the day, that's what it's all about. It's about living in one world and how we can all learn to share each other's thoughts and ideas, to collaborate in a way that makes for a better world."
2) Learning another language makes you stand out
"Learning a second or even third language has many advantages in whatever career you choose. I have had students in various career fields including nursing, law enforcement and business that have used what they learned in my Spanish classes to get hired, to get promoted or advance in their careers. As I tell my students, what you learn in this class can help you get the job of your choice."
Schoology Educator of Year & Ambassador 2016-2017
Spanish Teacher and Minecraft Mentor
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3) Learning another language benefits your health & happiness
"I think learning a language is both enjoyable and adds to your overall well-being. Many people who learn German told me they do it because it's fun. Some people seem to gain vitality because they have a clearlong-termm goal and purpose. When you want to become fluent, it is essential to have that goal clear in mind, stick to it and to practice regularly. Setting and achieving goals is a learned skill you can develop and strengthen through language learning. This skill is vital for success and happiness in life. Learning a language is a worthwhile goal. You have better employment opportunities and experience another culture. Most importantly, you can form connections with even more people from around the world. You will meet many interesting people and maybe even the love of your life."
4) Learning another language transforms your travel experiences
"There is no better time to learn a language than when you're young. Not only do you absorb things and learn better but, without the demands of a job, the pressure of meeting that next mortgage payment, or the the patter of tiny feet to distract your every waking moment, you have the time to consolidate that learning, and even to travel and put that new-found knowledge to practice."
5) Learning another language boosts creativity
"With a supportive and motivating teacher at their side, language learners often discover their true talents and interests. Over the years, I have taught hundreds of English language learners who fell in love with writing by practising English. English may be their second or third language, but they wrote their first stories, poems, and blog posts with it and became writers because of it. Having an audience of accepting language learners who are all in the same boat also helps give learners the courage to create."
6) Learning another language improves your interpersonal skills
"As a student who went through the French Immersion education system, and now as a French Immersion teacher ten years into my career, I truly believe that being immersed in a second language is the best way to learn. Learning another language has improved my interpersonal skills. These skills - communication, critical thinking and listening skills - are fundamental to developing the other important life skills that future employers look for. Having a second language also gave me greater confidence and opportunities when entering the workforce."
7) Learning another language builds self-confidence
"Prior to my recent trip to Europe, I decided to enroll in two continuing education classes at my local community college. One was French and one was Italian. Since I was spending over a week in each country, I felt that I needed to learn a little of each language to show respect to those I was visiting and meeting. Although I'm not a quick study when it comes to languages, I learned enough to become confident enough to wander alone through villages and cities throughout both countries! I interacted with strangers and talked with people in stores and restaurants. Since I was willing to speak their native language initially, they were all more than happy to speak with me in English the rest of the way!"
8) Learning another language improves your native language
"Formal versus informal language learning is a great debate. Whether it’s what kids want to hear or not, the traditional classroom approach to language learning is key. Grasping the mechanics of another language enables you to take that language all the way, in the key areas of speaking, reading and writing. Interestingly, it even enhances your own native language: by giving you your first taste of how the various components of sentences fit together, you become infinitely sharper – subconsciously - at manipulating your own language.
And the informal? Well, you’ve heard the research around young children in bilingual households being naturals at language. Given that they do that just by being surrounded by it, can you emulate that experience yourself? Yes! On an extended stay with a host in the country where your second language is spoken. Only by being exposed to authentic language 24/7 can you become a true, natural linguist."
Essentially, learning another language provides more positive experiences and opportunities. Communication is everything and there's really no excuse for not learning a second language.