17 benefits of being bilingual

Becoming a polygot isn’t an easy thing to accomplish. But once you learn a second language, the benefits are plentiful. The following benefits of being bilingual will be enough to inspire you to start learning your second language as soon as possible.

 

1. Easier backpacking and independent travel

From being able to negotiate prices, to asking locals where their favorite food joint is, knowing the local language while traveling to a foreign country can make your trip so much easier. You won’t have to rely on guides or expensive tourist traps – with the local language, the sky’s the limit for what you can do.

 

2. Watching foreign films without subtitles

Pop some popcorn, sit back and relax as you enjoy a piece of cinema spoken in its intended language. You won’t have to multitask by reading the text while watching the film at the same time. Another benefit is also not worrying about watching a poorly dubbed version of your favorite foreign film.

 

3. Making international friends

Learning another language allows for intercultural exchange and bonds with new people from around the world. Making the effort to really understand another person’s language also shows respect for their culture, which often causes people to open up and share their time. One of the best benefits of being bilingual is the easiness of connecting with new people from different backgrounds.

 

benefits of being bilingual

 

4. You’ll be a better multitasker

Learning a second language has proven to make people more adept at multitasking and better at focusing overall. When you’re used to listening in one language, and thinking in another, learning to do more than one thing at once becomes so natural.

 

5. It changes how you see the world

Languages are specific to certain cultures and are used in a way that reflects the values of the culture. Learning another language allows you to adopt another cultural perspective and identity.

 

6. It makes your brain stronger

Bilinguals have more grey matter and alternative pathways than do monolinguals. This means that when someone who is bilingual gets a disease like Alzheimer’s, the effects on their brain are delayed 4-5 years compared to monolinguals. 

 

7. You get to learn a whole new set of accents

It’s always fun to hear the different accents and dialects of your native language. It’s just as fun to discover that there are so many ways to speak other languages too.

 

8. You can work as a translator or interpreter

If you’re fascinated by languages you can earn a living working with them if you become fluent in two languages. Being a translator also gives you a lot of freedom to work where you want to. A lot of the work is remote and can be done from anywhere, which is perfect for someone who wants to travel.

 

9. You can read foreign literature in its original language

Although literature in a second language is always difficult, it’s rewarding to finish a novel in its original tongue. Reading in more than one language is another one of the best benefits of being bilingual.

 

benefits of being bilingual

 

10. You can discover another culture more authentically

Without needing a translator, you’ll be able to communicate directly with many different kinds of people when you’re in a community that speaks your second language. Conversations and friendships will come more easily when you speak the local language.

 

11. You serve an important purpose

Language barriers often cause cultural barriers. Learning a second language helps break that barrier down by providing an avenue for people to converse and exchange ideas.

 

12. You’ll understand current events differently

Reading foreign headlines and articles from another region will help you understand another culture’s take on global events. It may even change the way you previously thought about the world too.

 

13. It’s easier to learn a third or fourth language

Your second language is generally more challenging to learn than your third, studies have shown. Also, if you learn a romance language like Spanish, you’ll see that the root words are very similar in Portuguese, Italian and French.

 

14. Dating in another language

Learning another language can really open up your dating pool – or at least allow for some fun international flings. Being able to speak to someone in their native tongue makes it that much easier to connect with them.

 

15. You can develop a new personality

Language is deeply tied to our identity and personality. Who and where we are when we’re learning a language will affect our personalities, how we express ourselves and the memories we’re able to conjure.

 

16. You can earn more money

The added skill of knowing another language can actually lead to a higher salary and better job opportunities. One of the best benefits of being bilingual is the chance to make more cash.

 

17. It can prevent a stroke

One of the most surprising benefits of learning another language is that it actually can lower the risk of having a stroke. You’ll thank yourself later for constantly working your brain daily.

 

Now that you know 17 benefits of being bilingual, apply now to learn another language while interning abroad.

 

 

Sources: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160811-the-amazing-benefits-of-being-bilingual

 

Photos:

1. based on Feria del Caballo – Jerez Horse Fair, by Dominic Alves, CC-by-2.0

2. based on Stop/Arrêt, by MPD01605, CC-by-sa 2.0

3. based on Zanda Kalnina-Lukaševica – Latvian part press photos: Citizens’ Corner debate on EU citizens and their digital rights, by euranet_plus, CC-by-SA 2.0

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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