What Are The Benefits of Learning a 2nd Language?

With the power of our smartphones and access to the internet 24/7, our ability to connect with a wide range of people in differing communities and cultures around the globe is just a few clicks away. Unfortunately, for most, this interconnected world isn’t readily accessible as it requires the ability to speak, write, and read in a second, third, or fourth language. While it can be daunting to learn a second language, there are numerous benefits to being bilingual or even polylingual.

1. Challenge Your Brain & Feed It

There are numerous cognitive benefits in learning a second language. Not only will you experience improved memory skills, but critical-thinking, concentration, listening skills, problem-solving, and the ability to multitask will all be enhanced. You will have greater flexibility and creativity because you’ll be able to think, read, and write in more than one language. By having access to new perspectives, and cultures, you feed your brain while stripping away biases and stereotypes.

2. Open Up New Extracurricular Activities

In order to learn a second language quickly and fluently, it is important to immerse yourself in it. By doing this with your peers, you’ll find yourself participating in new extracurricular activities that bolster language learning. This is a great way to make new friends, while tackling something new and challenging.

3. Connect to a Wider Range of People

Our ability to connect to people, and be shaped by them, is a critical building block of who we are. Our human experience is shaped by the beliefs, values, and experiences of our peers, colleagues, friends, family, and strangers. To communicate with someone in their own language, opens up the door to a completely new perspective, which is something that you may carry with you no matter where you go.

4. Gain a Career Advantage

By learning a second language, you give yourself a significant competitive advantage over your monolingual peers who are in the same career field as you. Employers seek out those who have language skills, as they need employees that can fill in roles that require communicating with foreign-born individuals. This is especially true if you are applying for a job at a company that handles business in overseas markets. Plus, language skills often give you an edge in the hiring process, and you can easily ask for an increased salary as a result.

5. Find Greater Understanding of Other Cultures

While you can easily pick up a book to read about another culture, it doesn’t quite give you first-hand understanding of that culture’s traditions, art, history, or religion. This is because you aren’t understanding it from their perspective and through their language. To truly see it the way they do, learn their language and find a deeper understanding. Plus, in doing this, it is likely that you will have greater tolerance, acceptance, and empathy towards the culture as a whole.

6. Open Up Travel Opportunities

While you can easily use or rely on Google Translate when traveling, it’s not going to give you the immersion of being in a different country. In learning a second language, you’ll be able to go beyond the tourist bubble, and open up new opportunities for friendships, relationships, work, and study.

7. Eliminate the Need for Translation Services

There are 6,500 languages spoken in the world today [1]; which requires translation services to understand if you are a monolingual speaker. This makes things like consuming foreign media or entertainment, getting or receiving directions, choosing to travel or work, where one of these languages is spoken, incredibly difficult. By learning a second language, you can bypass translation services and understand the material at its source.

8. Find a Sense of Accomplishment & Confidence

Anyone who takes on the process of learning a second language, knows just how uncomfortable it sounds and feels at first. Certain words may be confusing or phrasing may be off-putting, but in taking on the challenge, you step outside the comfort of your native tongue and move into a rewarding sense of accomplishment when you get it right. Once you are fluent enough to converse freely and without mistakes, confidence will follow.

9. Boost Your Decision-Making

By thinking in a second language, your decision-making skills become strengthened, as you are better able to distance yourself from relying on emotional responses or biases that come from your native language. This may allow you to better weigh your options in a logical and rational manner, rather than based on emotional beliefs, or values that stem from your native language [2].

10. Make Additional Language Learning Easier!

A second language will help you expand your vocabulary, improve your communication and thinking skills, but it will also make it easier to learn a third language [3], [4]. The new neural networks you built during your initial jump into a second language, will be primed and ready, when you make the leap again.

Wrapping It Up

If you are looking for a new way to connect to those outside of your immediate community or to those across the globe, our tried and proven method here at Glotsalot can help you become fluent in the quickest and funnest manner possible. Are you ready to truly connect?

[1] https://blog.busuu.com/most-spoken-languages-in-the-world/
[2] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/foreign-language-improve-decisions/
[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201110915.htm
[4] https://dana.org/article/the-cognitive-benefits-of-being-bilingual/