Sharpening your mind.
Boosting your self-confidence.
Opening you up to new cultures and even finding your soulmate.
The benefits of learning a foreign language are far-reaching and can have bigger consequences than you might think.
Let’s explore the incredible ways in which learning another language can change your life.
1. Make Friends For Life
One of the most incredible ways in which another language can change your life is through personal connections.
We humans are social creatures so it’s no surprise that a common language helps people connect. But learning to overcome any sense of fear or embarrassment with someone you’re practising your target language with. Now that’s huge.
Developing this level of trust is exactly the type of solid foundations upon which a friendship is built.
During a homestay or language exchange you have the perfect opportunity to do just that. To immerse yourself in the culture of the language you are learning. And make deep connections with your hosts in a welcoming environment.
You may also already know people at work, or in your social circles that speak the language you are learning.
Ask around, you’ll probably be surprised. Cultivating a curiosity about strangers in this way will mean you are easily able to develop relationships with people. Anywhere, from all walks of life.
2. Improve Job Prospects
Businesses are operating in an increasingly globalised market.
Therefore a proven benefit that being bilingual is that you are likely to get paid more.
Businesses are looking for bilingual candidates who can converse with colleagues across different countries. Not only is it vital for their business, but they are willing to pay extra for these skills.
Therefore being able to speak another language will not only open up more job opportunities all around the world. It will also set you miles apart from other candidates, who don’t have the prowess of your interchangeable language abilities.
3. Prevent Mental Illness
Scientific studies have shown that learning a second language has many cognitive benefits, including staving off dementia.
This is because you start to think in your new language rather than translating. And your brain develops new mental pathways which prevents deterioration in the brain.
The hardest parts and struggles of learning another language are actually what makes the human brain healthier. Simply put it gives the lazy parts of your brain a good workout, improving focus, memory and concentration.
And it’s not just shielding against dementia.
Learning a new language, and the powerful mental workout it provides, actually makes you smarter and better at learning anything. This is because your brain uses every form of memory it has and develops more flexible ways of retaining information. Now aren’t you a clever clogs?
4. Serious Confidence Boost
Want to increase your resilience and enhance your social skills? Learning another language will do that for you.
There are plenty of ‘lost in translation’ moments that come up during conversations in your target language.
So learning to ride the wave and come out of an interaction with a sense of achievement. That will do wonders for your confidence. Learning from your mistakes and challenging yourself is key.
Learning a new language can’t fail to have a significant impact on your self confidence.
Willpower is also improved during language learning. Since everytime you can’t be bothered to practice, you employ self control do it anyway. Because you are committed to your long term goal.
So after you’ve mastered your new language, if you fancy running a marathon, or entering the Guinness world book of for spinning a basketball on your toothbrush, the world is your oyster.
5. Richer Travel Experiences
One of the great things about languages is that it is likely your new language is spoken in more than one country.
Let’s take Spanish for example. Spanish is not only spoken in Spain. It is also spoken in Mexico, Argentina, Perú, Ecuador, Cuba and many more countries.
Being able to easily communicate your needs or navigate a new place with ease. These are probably the first things you will notice after learning the language of a place you are travelling to. But also the more time you spend conversing in your new language—learning details about others’ culture and way of life—the more likely you will develop deeper connections.
It’s also highly probable, that throughout your language learning process, you will develop a deeper sense of appreciation for your own culture.
This is because through reactions to questions asked to you, you will gain an outsider’s perspective. Providing a different perspective on things that may just seem commonplace and uninteresting to you.
Learning another language is also helpful on a very practical level when you travel. So forget being uncomfortable haggling for overpriced souvenirs, or being worried about getting ripped off by taxi drivers. These are now a thing of the past.
6. Gain A New Personality
Things happen as you become fluent in another language and engage with new people from different cultures.
Your personality evolves and it adds a different dimension to who you are. Some people liken speaking different languages to having a split personality. But in a good way.
It happens because being immersed in a different culture enables you to see yourself in a different light. You examine your behaviours from a different angle. You are free to reinvent yourself while speaking in your new language. Personal development at its finest.
What’s more, language learning engages the rational and planning parts of the brain.
Which in turn makes you better at decision making. This is because whilst thinking in your new language you see things from a less biased viewpoint.
7. Develop Sex Appeal
Foreign romances are high on most people’s fantasy lists.
So you are definitely developing an exotic edge through learning a foreign language. I mean come on let’s face it, there must be very few people out there who don’t find accents and foreign languages sexy.
It’s just simply undeniable that being fluent in more than one language is impressive, and that attracts positive attention. So if you haven’t found them already. As you sashay your way up the popularity ladder as a language learner, keep an eye out for your soulmate.
8. Become A Nicer Person
Patience, empathy, great listening skills, these are all traits that bilingual people have in common. Why?
Well becoming fluent in a new language doesn’t happen overnight and the learning process will teach you things.
You will learn to listen, really listen.
Because at first you will only understand a few words of your target language. So you have to really be paying attention to pick up on context and emotions. Next you have to work through the frustrations of being unable to communicate your needs effectively.
You will know what you want to say but you will forget words and make lots of mistakes. But you will work through it and strengthen your patience as you go.
Then as you converse with people of a different culture to your own you take your conversations to deeper levels. Not only will you start to notice commonalities, but you also start to challenge prejudices.
Studies have also proven that learning another language makes you more relaxed, easier to get along with. Which generally means you’ll experience less anxiety and sadness.
The reason? Being bilingual gives you a broader emotional perspective. Hence more tools to live a balanced and happier life. And who doesn’t want that right?!
9. Widen Global Understanding
Being able to converse in another language directly opens you up to meeting more people.
And because these people are more likely to have different outlooks on life, automatically enhances your understanding and appreciation of cultural differences.
Through conversations with people of a different culture than your own, you will be enabled to participate in new and exciting topics of conversations. Ones that you previously may never have touched on before, for example foreign politics.
It’s a fact that most personal conflict situations result from miscommunications, therefore as your ability to interculturally communicate develops you will start to accept and understand concepts and structures that previously did not tie in with your logic.
Also when you learn a new language, new words are more than labels. In most cases it’s near impossible to do direct translations.
Therefore through learning the different meanings behind words and phrases you experience the world through a different reality, and learn alternative ways to express yourself. And no we’re not just talking about more swear words, although it does feel pretty cool when you get the the stage of cursing in your new language.
Bonus: Find New Hobbies
Learning a new language can seriously change how you spend your spare time.
It opens up literacy that simply wasn’t available to you before. And also you no longer have to rely on translations. You can enjoy the medium of art and literature in its purest form with the original and intended message from the artist.
Through exposure to different cultures you will likely develop interests in things you never knew about before.
For example alternative musical instruments such as the charango from South America, or different types of sports like native Brazilian Capoeira, or even Japanese sumo wrestling.
It’s also true that after you’ve mastered your second language, it’s likely that learning another language will be on the cards.
This is because our brains enjoy learning new things and solving puzzles.
So getting to grips with new vocab and grammar is actually akin to a natural high. And the satisfaction drives many people to go on to learn third or fourth languages. Who knew learning another language could replace beer and chocolate!
Everyone’s experience of learning another language is individual and different.
But whether you haven’t started learning a new language yet, or are already well on your way to becoming fluent in your target language. We hope to have provided you with some added motivation for your language learning journey!
In what other ways can learning a new language change your life? Let us know in the comments below.