One of the most challenging things to do in life is to learn a foreign language. That being said, there are numerous benefits to reap from investing in speaking a second or third language. Next time that you’re considering whether or not to prioritize language learning, think about what’s at stake. As the world becomes increasingly globalized and international travel becomes more accessible, speaking more than one language can present you with a multitude of personal and professional opportunities. Here are some of our favorite benefits of learning a foreign language.
1. You’ll widen your circle
One of the most obvious and immediate benefits of learning a foreign language is that you can communicate with people who you couldn’t have spoken to before. Learning languages opens up the opportunity to talk to millions of new people, which comes with both personal and professional benefits. Expanding your network of friends means having a more diverse, international group of people in your life and access to a wider array of opportunities through these connections.
2. More job opportunities
Knowing a second language puts you at an advantage in the global economy and makes you a more valuable professional in many different fields. Understanding the local language in an emerging market, for example, can lead to a position on an international expansion team.
3. You’ll think differently
The cognitive benefits alone of learning a foreign language should be reason enough to start learning your next language today. People who learn foreign languages are proven to be better at math, decision making, listening, focusing, prioritizing and they’re more creative. Polyglots are also at a lower risk of experiencing dementia.
4. An improved capacity to learn more languages
It’s like that old Pringles commercial – “once you pop, the fun don’t stop” – but with languages. Once you’ve invested in learning one foreign language, it becomes easier and more enticing to learn more. It’s proven that bilinguals are able learn a new language with more ease than monolinguals. It especially helps if you’re trying to pick up a language with similar roots – if you’ve mastered Spanish, for example, learning French or Portuguese becomes easier because of the similarities among the languages.
5. Access to media and literature in its original language
Reading a translated text or watching a movie with subtitles isn’t the same as experiencing the work in its original language. Knowing a second language gives you access to a long list of new music, television, theatre and literature that will lead to new insights and perspectives on the world around us.
6. Connecting with another culture on a deeper level
Knowing the local language is the best way to connect with a new culture. If you’re able to talk to the local people in their language, they’re likely trust you and open up more – and you’ll understand more. Just hearing and understanding how people communicate with each other, and the words they use, is an amazing way to learn more deeply about a different culture.
7. You can travel more easily around the world
The more languages you know, the more easily you can communicate with others when you’re traveling world. Knowing the local language when you’re traveling in a foreign country makes the experience go more smoothly as you’re able to communicate and ask questions more clearly. You also will pick up more information about where you are, being able to read signs, menus and understand instructions and advice.
Apply now for an international internship and begin to reap the benefits of learning a foreign language!