It’s a cliche because it’s true: we live in an increasingly connected world. Social, political and economic interactions now take place on a global scale every minute of every day, and we know more about our neighbors than ever before. For many monolinguists (people who speak only one language), this might also mean a glaring awareness that we can only communicate with a fraction of this globally interconnected population. But if you’re still unconvinced as to the value of learning another language, here are eight reasons why it’s a great idea.
Learning a new language can open up new windows in your life that you didn’t know were there. For those thinking of developing their careers, you’ll be pleased to know that learning a language can help access new markets, companies or job opportunities, and help you boost your business. If you live in a multilingual area, picking up a new language can help you engage in a new social life (not to mention impress your monolingual friends).
Training the brain
Language is like a muscle: the more you train it, the stronger it gets. We practice our native language every day, and every time we communicate we practice soft skills like teamwork, negotiation, and empathy. Learning a new language allows you to practice these skills even more, usually with a whole new group of people. You might even change the way you behave around them. Learning languages has also been shown to reduce the effects of aging; those who can speak multiple languages often have reduced signs of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Make yourself more employable
The addition of any new life skill is a valuable thing in the job market, and learning a language is certainly no different. “Even the fact that you are taking language classes is a sign to employers that you are interested in personal development, and that you are actively making yourself into a more valuable employee and interesting person” says Lionel Childs, a tutor at Britstudent and 1Day2write.
Let’s not pretend, language learning can be a challenge, but challenges are good for us. Keeping your mind active can help you be more creative in your thinking in other areas of your life. If you’re someone who enjoys being creative in art, music or writing but have recently found it difficult to motivate yourself, learning a new language could be just what you need to get those juices flowing.
Learning any level of language can be hugely satisfying, a reward that can boost your confidence and self-esteem. Just like any challenge, you met obstacles and overcame them, and as a result you’ve gained a new skill: that’s something to be proud of! You can boost your self-esteem even more by putting that language to good use. Go to a country you’ve never visited before, talk to people at parties in your new tongue, enjoy this new world you’ve built for yourself!
Experience new culture
In a world where so much media is available to us at the click of a button, you can get to know a new culture from the comfort of your living room. Read the originals of your favorite foreign-language authors, or find you new favourite TV drama. It might even help you learn the language.
Learn more about your own language
You probably don’t remember learning your native language, because you picked it up as a child through natural interaction. That’s how it usually works: through trial and error, as you learn about the world around you. By actively practicing a new language you can start to notice the structures and rules of your own language, and maybe even figure out how to use them better.
Broaden your horizons
Perhaps the simplest and most valuable benefit to learning a new language is introducing yourself to a new culture. Language is a vessel for history, society, and personality, so by learning a new one you are opening yourself up to another world, one that you get to share with millions of others.
Beatrice is a professional copywriter at Phdkingdom.com and Nextcoursework.com specializing in all kinds of topics. She is always open to sharing her personal experience and giving advice to early-career writers.