Have you ever been slightly envious of people who can speak more than one language? Been abroad and wished you could converse with the locals? Listened to people having a conversation in another language and wished that you knew what they were saying?
Maybe it’s time to learn a new language! Learning a new language boosts your brainpower, helps well-being and helps you understand other cultures better.
Here are five benefits you could enjoy by learning a new language.
1/ Brain benefits
It is universally recognised that learning another language can improve cognitive ability and keep the brain young. This is because the language learning process engages many different parts of the brain, and improves the interaction between these parts as a result. It’s also thought that by learning a new language, you can help delay your risk of dementia by up to five years.
Learning a language also requires you to learn, remember and recall grammar and vocabulary, which gives your memory a good workout and helps to keep it exercised and functioning well.
2/ Advance your career
People who can speak two or more languages often have an advantage when it comes to working and applying for jobs. With so many companies operating globally with international teams, employers tend to look highly upon people with additional language skills. This is because they are able to communicate with people across multiple communities – including clients or colleagues in other countries.
If you’ve learnt one or more languages later in life, employers may also be impressed that you are always willing to learn new things and have the motivation and drive to learn new skills.
3/ Boost your confidence and wellbeing
Learning a language is by no means easy, but it can be a fun way to challenge yourself and work on your self-development. Learning something new makes us feel productive and good about ourselves.
When you stretch your limits and begin to challenge yourself, you might surprise yourself with how much you can achieve – and when we find success, no matter how small, our confidence levels tend to rise and our general wellbeing improves.
Start by setting yourself small goals – for example, even if you can work towards chatting to a native speaker of another language for ten minutes, you’re likely to feel more confident – especially if it’s something you thought you couldn’t do before. Don’t be nervous when trying to chat with a native speaker, they will really appreciate your effort and no doubt be kind and understanding with you!
4/ Cultural appreciation
The process of learning a new language can be very refreshing, as it allows you to consider different perspectives and embrace views other than your own. With so many companies operating on a global level, cultural appreciation has never been so important.
Of course, you will never know all of the languages spoken across your international teams, but learning just one language will give you a cultural appreciation that will be valued amongst your team and superiors.
Learning new languages has even been said to help increase kindness and inclusiveness in the world – as people begin to understand each other better, it becomes natural to act with greater compassion and empathy.
5/ An excuse to travel
We appreciate that travel is only just opening up at the moment, but it won’t be long before we can travel again, so get ready. Learning a language now can give you a great reason to travel later.
What better excuse is there to travel to beautiful countries like Costa Rica, Mexico and Cuba than to practice your Spanish? Once you start learning a language, chances are you will frequently look for opportunities to put your new language skills into practice.
And whilst practising with non-native speakers can still be helpful, there’s nothing like immersing yourself fully in the language, customs and cultures of countries that speak the language you’re trying to learn.
People often say that the best way to learn something new is to throw yourself in at the deep end and travelling abroad to challenge your language skills is a great way to do that.
Most local colleges offer a wide range of language courses, so what are you waiting for - check them out and go for it!