It’s no secret that learning a second language can be incredibly useful. Being bilingual grants you the opportunity to converse with people of varying backgrounds and cultures, but language learning can be enriching in more ways than one – check out these five ways learning a second (or a third, or a fourth) language can enhance your life!
1. It grants you better job opportunities
The world is a globalizing place and being bilingual sets you apart from your competition when you’re in the job market. Not only can you communicate with clients or partners from different countries and cultures, but you can make more too!
In the United States, bilinguals earn, on average, about $7000 more than monolingual speakers. In an article in The Globe and Mail, in Canada bilingual males earn about 7% more and bilingual women earn about 8% more.
2. It provides you with more travel options
There’s no doubt that travel is a stimulating and invigorating experience, but it can also be a frightening one, particularly when you’ve found yourself thrown into a foreign country with no idea what anyone around you is saying.
Knowing a second language can drastically increase your comfort zone, and even if you’re travelling to a country that doesn’t share a language with you, at least you have a second one in your repertoire to break out.
3. It boosts your brain health
That’s right! Learning a second language can actually improve the health of your brain! Studies have shown that bilingual individuals experience fewer signs of dementia and fewer cases of Alzheimer's than their monolingual counterparts.
And according to a study in the journal 'Frontiers in Psychology' young bilingual adults performed better on attention tests and had better concentration than their monolingual peers. Even better? The age at which the person learned the second language appeared to have no effect.
4. It humbles you
One of the most humbling experiences is learning a second language. As you stumble your way through, awkwardly attempting to imitate proper pronunciation, you make mistakes. Perhaps you trip as you climb aboard a bus in Spain and announce to all the passengers that you’re embarazada (pregnant in Spanish) instead of saying me da vergüenza (which literally means ‘I have shame’), or maybe you spend three times as long trying to describe your new cão (dog in Portuguese) to a friend. Either way, you’ll grow more humble. You’ll be more sympathetic to those that struggle in your first language, and perhaps you’ll even share a few friendly words of Beratung (advice in German).
Check out our Spanish, Portuguese, and German language tests, or contact us for more info regarding classes!
5. It lets you understand others better
And lastly, in a world as diverse and eccentric as ours, learning a second language allows us to understand one another better. It allows us to connect in a way that we might not otherwise be able to.
Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” It’s about time we started speaking to each other in a language that goes to the heart.
As hard as it may be, and as much effort as it might require, learning a second language can have immeasurably enriching rewards. Interested in getting started? Contact us to find a tutor near you!