One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” ― Frank Smith
Learning a foreign language can seem like an intimidating task.
However, the process of learning a language is just as enriching as mastering one. Studying a language not only gets you closer to being bilingual, but has life changing benefits you might not expect. Culture is deeply embedded into language, and by exploring that, you are exposing yourself to having a more enlightened, diversified worldview.
Here are some hidden rewards of learning a new language:
1. You gain confidence.
Learning a language, even on a conversational level, gives you the confidence to travel more freely, meet more people, and acquire new skills. A lot of people are discouraged or frustrated over international travel because of cultural and language barriers. And while english is commonly spoken internationally, there is nothing like the feeling of navigating strange and unfamiliar territories using the hard-work of your own linguistic prowess.
2. You become a more attractive professional candidate.
English is the gold currency of the international business world. One of the most powerful qualities you can have in any political, marketing, or business field is to be a native english speaker with bilingual abilities. Extremely high-profile companies that have international headquarters or satellite locations seek out professionals that can bring their skills to both tables, so to speak.
3. You develop better cognitive control.
Do you tend to blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind without thinking? A study published on PubMed found that being bilingual leads to better impulse control and problem solving skills. Learning a new language helps train your brain to think more intentionally and strategically.
4. You learn a new culture.
It’s mesmerizing how much of a culture is reflected in their language. For example, french and russian are extremely different languages, and are very characteristic of the cultures and history that they stem from. You will be surprised and delighted by the things you find just by studying the linguistic conventions of a culture.
5. Learning a new language has been proven to lower the risk of dementia.
An article by Catherine de Lange on New Scientist discusses a study that demonstrated those who are bilingual develop dementia much later in life than those who are mono-linguistic. Keeping the brain active and adaptable is one of the biggest weapons against cognitive decline, and what better way to do that than learn a romantic language?
Being someone who struggled with the black and white nature of mathematics, I was shocked by my natural ability for picking up a language. I discovered an entire new way of processing information that my artistic, often abstract way of thinking rarely got to practice.
I encourage you to dive into a new language, as you never know just how far it will take you. Bonne chance!