One of the most disappointing stats we have recently come across is that only 7% of American college students are currently attending language courses. An even more disappointing piece of data is that less than 1% of Americans who were taught a foreign language over the course of their education are proficient at it. Even so, these stats are hardly surprising, because there is more than one reason that is to blame for this situation.
First of all, there are the budget cuts, which prioritize subjects which are at the top of the list when it comes to their practical application, such as math, which leaves arts, sports, and languages out in the cold, with reduced or no funding. As a result, there are less language teachers, too.
There is also the fact that English is spoken pretty much everywhere around the world and is the unofficial language of the World Wide Web, which means that an average American will have no trouble communicating with foreigners no matter where they go.
But, we often forget about different ways in which knowing a foreign can benefit us and make us happier, which is why we have put together the following list, in order to remind ourselves, so keep on reading.
- The Satisfaction of Learning Something New
There are very few things in this world that feel as good as learning something new, and that is perhaps most evident when you learn a new language. You feel good about yourself, because you have accomplished something which is by no means easy, which gives an additional boost of confidence to learn other languages, or some other skills you previously thought were too difficult for you to master. Plus, there is the small bonus in being able to impress people around you with your knowledge of a foreign language.
- Taking Your Travelling Experience to Whole New Level
No matter how confident you are, once you find yourself in a foreign country, whose language you don’t speak, it’s natural to feel a little bit insecure or even intimidated. But, if you take the time to learn the language of the natives, your staying will turn into a totally different, and a lot more pleasant experience. There is also the fact you will be able to save money, because you will know where to find cheap lodging, transportation, and food. Also, in some countries, museum tickets are more expensive for foreigners.
- Being Able to Immerse Yourself in a Foreign Culture
You can learn about different countries, customs, and cultures in books or online, but nothing can compare to finding yourself on the soil of a foreign country whose language you speak, and being able to understand it and look at it from a whole different perspective. You are opening yourself to a wider range of pretty much everything: foreign movies, books, art, music, and history. Just the comfort of not needing subtitles is worth it.
- Meeting Different People
Like we’ve already said, pretty much everybody speaks some English nowadays, but you will find that communicating with different people online, and especially if you are visiting their country, will make them a lot friendlier towards you, because you have taken the time to learn their language, and anyone can appreciate that. Also, one can only really begin to understand the people, their emotions, the way their think, and speak, if they are familiar with all the nuances of their language.
- Access to More Job Opportunities
Some positions will require you to speak a certain foreign language if you want to get hired. There is also a flip side to that coin, as well, because you can command a higher salary if you are multilingual. Then there is the opportunity to go abroad and get a better job there, in some beautiful city. The fact that English is the most widely accepted language also means that there is a constant demand for English tutors and teachers, which is something you can take advantage of.
- Increasing Your Cognitive Abilities
Yes, learning new languages actually makes you smarter. There is whole raft of research which proves that students who speak more than one language have better test results, not just when it comes to languages, but other subjects as well, such as math. Believe or not, the process of learning and speaking one or more foreign languages actually alters your gray matter, which is responsible for information processing in your brain.
- Improving Knowledge of Your Native Language
Although it may seem strange, this actually makes a lot of sense. When you are learning a foreign language, it requires you to approach it in a different way to your native language. You have to be more mindful of the vocabulary, grammar, the way you compose sentences, use idioms, and apply all of those subtle details every language has. That approach will carry over to your native language, and you will begin to pay more attention to it than you ever did before.
- Become More Understanding of the World around You
Each culture has a slightly, or completely different view of the world, and speaking another language will help you understand world events much more clearly and figure out the reasons how and why they are taking place. Being able to evaluate something from an entirely different perspective is an eye-opening experience which nobody should not miss out on.
- Prevent Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Although degenerative conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s can have a number of different causes behind them, there is plenty of research data to suggest that people who learn and speak a foreign language can prevent or even slow down the progress of the disease. Keeping yourself mentally healthy is just as important as keeping yourself physically fit, and mastering a new language is one of the best ways to do it.
- Becoming a Well-Rounded Individual
When you put together all of the benefits of knowing a foreign language we have described above, they add up to you becoming a more confident, satisfied,
knowledgeable, and eloquent individual, which, in turn, will make you more successful, both at work and in your social life.
Learning a foreign language is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have in their lifetime. And the best thing about it is that it’s available for you in a number of different ways.
Language schools, language-learning apps, books, or simply chatting with foreigners online, those are all legitimate methods, and some of them are completely free, so why not make use of them? Start learning a new language today!
Antonio is a consultant at dissertation writing service EduGeeksClub where he provides online assistance to students and supports them throughout all stages of dissertation writing. When not doing that, he’s biking to new exciting places.