Being able to speak two or more languages fluently has always been on the top of my to-do list. The problem with to-do lists is that the top usually gets bypassed by the easier tasks at the bottom. Come on! I know I’m not the only one so don’t judge me.
Anyway, learning another language has a lot of benefits and advantages. There’s also some truth to the statement above that bilinguals do have more fun.
The World is Your Oyster
Imagine speaking Spanish and going on a tour of Latin America. You’d be better equipped to handle any situation because you can leisurely walk up to the locals and talk to them. Get the real lowdown on the best shops, restaurants and bars that no guide book could ever show you. Confidently take directions. You would know everything that’s happening around you because you can understand everyone. You can confidently explore everything the country has to offer, because the language barrier has been smashed and you’re free to roam. You can haggle better, too.
Experience and Enjoy new Cultures
The world is more connected now than it has ever been. The real sad part is that not many people get to enjoy other cultures because we have a hard time understanding one another. If you’re bilingual, the doors are wide open for you to explore other countries and the many cultures that make us all unique. Imagine attending a cinema festival in Korea, or watching a play in France…
Improved Brain Health and Memory
The brain is often called a muscle and just like any muscle, it needs exercise to stay in shape. Learning a second language helps in that regard because the brain undergoes yet another bout with etymology, structure, meaning and distinct rules. As the brain gets better at the new language, reading aptitude increases, as well as negotiating skills and problem solving. Bilinguals often switch between two languages, always translating between the two, which keeps the brain sharp.
Studies have shown that people who speak two or more languages have a better chance to stave off the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Bilinguals showed early signs of Alzheimer’s at age 75, while monolinguals began to suffer effects at 71.
Give your Career the Edge it needs
In companies, especially ones with offices abroad, bilinguals are paid more than double compared to the regular desk jockeys. Why double? Well, it’s like paying for two employees, but only one health benefit. It’s a win-win for both parties if you ask me. So get a leg up on your competition and learn a new language. Your company won’t need the services of a website translator anymore because you can do it in-house. Your career prospects will be better and you’ll be in demand more.
Be Awesome at Multitasking
Multitasking is awesome. Imagine being able to juggle 2-3 things at once! But not all of us are cut out to do this Jedi mind trick. I have a monolingual friend who can’t talk while texting because his brain can’t’ handle the extracurricular activity of talking while he formulates words into text. He’s smart as a whip, mind you, but his brain is wired to take in one thing at a time. My French speaking girlfriend on the other hand, can talk and text with no problems whatsoever.
Improved first Language
As you study a new language, you get to do a lot of introspection on your own native tongue. Sentence structure and grammar are more likely to improve because you will juggle between the two languages to check and see how the sentences are going to sound. Think of it as an auto-correct feature when you type.
Learning a new language takes skill, patience and practice. But when you do master another language, it’s a skill you can use to your advantage anywhere you choose to go. It’s a life skill, because it will improve your life in more ways than one. You’ll be healthier, make friends across the globe and have a better understanding of the world and all the events that unfold around you better.