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Seven benefits of learning a new language

When you think back to school, you may have wondered why it was important to learn French or Spanish.

Safeera Sarjoo
15th February 2016
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As you make your way through further education and into the working world, you soon realise that being able to communicate and understand a foreign language is sometimes an essential tool. In addition to supporting your professional progression, there are a number of personal benefits that learning a new language can unlock – some of which might just surprise you.

1. Learning a new language makes you more employable

Candidates who highlight their fluency or proficiency in a foreign language are often seen as an indispensable asset to a company, especially if they’re expanding to international markets. Being bilingual gives you a competitive edge over other candidates when searching for a new job as well as maintaining current employment.

Having a foreign language to hand is also very telling of a person’s intelligence, determination to learn and their openness to a diverse range of people, which are qualities employers will love.

2. Learning a new language has huge health benefits

A recent study from the University of Edinburgh found that bilingual people are twice as likely to recover from a stroke compared to people who only speak one language. Speaking more than one language can boost cognitive reserve, which is the brain’s ability to cope with damaging effects such as a stroke or dementia.

The more the brain is used, the better it functions, which is why learning a new language structure also helps to strengthen your memory.

In addition to this, though dementia and Alzheimer’s isn’t curable, learning a second language can stall the onset of these diseases. Many researches have suggested that multilingual adults experienced the start of these cognitive diseases at a later age of 75 compared to monolingual adults who showed the first signs at an earlier age of 71. There are further studies that show that learning and using a second language helps to keep you smarter for longer, with multilingual individuals scoring higher in standardised tests.

3. New languages broadens your horizons and openness to cultures

When you learn a new language you are automatically learning about a new culture and the history and heritage from where that language hails. This creates a deeper understanding of the traditions and customs of a particular race or culture. Demonstrating such flexibility is valuable in a world that is becoming very interconnected. Broadening your horizon and understanding also gives you the ability to look at situations and the world itself from different perspectives.

4. Learning a new language improves your English

That’s right. Learning a new language means drawing your attention to the mechanics of its structure such as grammar, vocabulary, sentence construction and conversing. An awareness of your native language increases as you learn to distinguish certain sounds and gradations. As you develop a stronger ear for these differences, it’s almost natural that you will be looking at the English language with more interest.

5. You build essential skills

Multilingual individuals, particularly children who are able to switch between two languages, are likely to be able to juggle varying tasks and switch between different structures with ease. Being able to switch from one language system to another is very demanding on the tongue and the brain, however individuals who are comfortable with this constant switch are also less prone to making mistakes when multi tasking.

In addition to this, bilingual and multilingual individuals have shown to have better decision-making skills. Languages contain nuances and dialect implications that can subconsciously influence a student as they judge these for appropriateness. As a result, that ability makes them confident decision makers.

6. You meet new people and have better travel experiences

People are amazed at the kind of doors that are opened to them once they grasp a foreign language. Not only do you get to meet and communicate with new and interesting people from around the world, traveling becomes all the more exciting as you can engage with locals more freely, practice your new language skills and even see a completely new side to your destination. You don’t even need to be completely fluent in a foreign language – locals are appreciative of foreigners who make the effort to communicate in their mother tongue.

7. Learning a new language builds up your self confidence

Being able to apply your knowledge of a second language can be a huge confidence booster especially when people you’re communicating with respond positively to your efforts. The techniques used to learn all facets of a new language such as writing, reading, listening and most importantly speaking, allow you to seamlessly network with people around the world and come to understand their opinions, thoughts and perspectives.

 

See for yourself just how valuable learning a new language can be now on Training and Courses.

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