In today’s interconnected world, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is a second language. Here are seven reasons why.
1. Communicate with more people
Learning a second language opens the opportunity to speak with a much larger number of people. It means there are more people you can interact with, learn from and who could become your friends. At the end of the day, this really is the main reason why people learn a second language.
2. Boosts empathy
There’s a Czech proverb, ‘Kolik jazyků umíš, tolikrát jsi člověkem’ which translated says ‘As many languages you know, as many times you are a human being’.
Studies have shown that those who speak more than one language are more empathetic. Learning a new language forces you to step out of your comfort zone and mix with people who might have different ways of thinking and perceptions of the world. Through learning the proverbs and idioms of the language, you get a window into a new culture and the history of the country. The act of learning a new language may also push you to speak with new people in a situation where you are highly aware of your listening skills. You become more open to discovering commonalities and may develop a deeper connection with the individual.
3. Broadens career opportunities
Language education is important for the workforce of the future. In an increasingly interconnected world, speaking more than one language can broaden career opportunities. Not only does it enable you to work abroad, but recruiters in a broad range of fields favour multilingual candidates.
4. Decision-making skills
Are you the type of person who takes longer to decide what to have for dinner than it takes to eat it? If so, learning a second language could improve your decision-making skills. A study from the University of Chicago found that people who consider their decision using a second language were less impulsive and emotional, meaning they could make well-reasoned and logical decisions.
5. Top travel experiences
Learning the local language of where you are travelling to will reduce the chances of you being targeted as a tourist. Of course, it would be very difficult to learn every language of every holiday destination you plan to travel to in your life. But by being able to speak at least a little of the local language, you may even discover hidden local gems that most tourist don’t know about. You will glad you made the effort when you’re dining at a small family run restaurant that serves the best local food in the area!
6. Improve your first language
An unexpected benefit of learning a second language is that it can improve your understanding of your first language. When learning a language, you must learn about its grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation patterns. In doing so, you also become more conscious of these aspects in your native language.
7. Gain confidence
Learning a new language is no mean feat. This huge achievement will surely see you grow in confidence as you go on to navigate the world with all these added benefits of speaking another language.