Whether you’re a science student whose primary interest lies in maths, physics, and all that complicated stuff, or a humanitarian student who, like me, is interested in the artsy stuff, learning a foreign language, especially while in college, is an important asset that is bound to come in handy in the future. It doesn’t only boost your CV or make travelling abroad much easier, but it also makes you smarter, more decisive and even better at English, as Anne Merritt says in The Telegraph. It’s not necessary to be a language major in order to learn a foreign language; language skills compliment any course or degree and it gives graduates a competitive advantage across all job sectors. But these are just a few out of numerous advantages of learning a new language. Here are some more advantages below.
- Learning a Foreign Language Helps You Expand Your Horizons
Unlike history or cultural studies, studying a foreign language actually gives you a deeper, more intimate understanding of the different cultures out there. It’s a direct link to another culture — including its history, politics, mentality, and current events. By learning a language and communicating with native speakers, you are introduced a new set of customs, behaviors, perspective, which allows you to see the world from an entirely different point of view. And such kind of perspective is an amazing asset to have both professionally and personally.
- It Provides A World of Job Opportunities
Being fluent in one or two languages opens up the door to a variety of job opportunities, no matter the sector or skill level. These opportunities exist in marketing, transportation, administration, sales, retail, banking, education, law, communication, public relations, tourism and government – to name just a few. Some jobs are completely language orientated, like translation and interpretation for example. But even among those that are not, knowing a foreign language can improve your chances of being hired by multinational organizations and in different countries. Let’s say you’re a computer programmer or an engineer and you’re fluent in German, you could be transferred to your tech company’s overseas office in Berlin. If you want to get into law or diplomacy, knowing Latin and French will boost your chances, because of the ubiquitous nature of those languages.
- It Helps You Become Smarter
Speaking a foreign language improves the functionality of your brain by challenging it to recognize, negotiate meaning, and communicate in different language systems. This skill boosts your ability to negotiate meaning in other problem-solving tasks as well. Bilinguals tend to make more rational decisions and are more confident with their choices after thinking it over in the second language and seeing whether their initial conclusions still stand up. Studies show that people who speak more than one languages are better at observing their surroundings. They are more adept at focusing on relevant information and editing out the irrelevant. They’re also better at spotting misleading information.
- Memory Improvement
The brain is like a muscle; it functions better with exercise. Learning a language involves memorizing rules and vocabulary, which helps strengthen our mental “muscle.” Such an exercise improves overall memory, and it makes you better at remembering things such as lists, sequences, names, directions, etc. You eventually acquire better critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as concentration, and mental flexibility. As a college student, these are skills that you definitely need! And as you go on learning languages you eventually become better at it, here’s why: with every new language you study, you end up figuring out ways to learn more efficiently. In other words, you develop language hacks. You learn to identify many common hindrances that you can avoid right from the get-go, as well as language hacks that can help you learn faster. And as you spend time learning your first foreign language, you’ll identify your own inefficiencies and eliminate them. You’ll start gaining momentum in your chosen language and learn more and more quickly.
- Learning a Foreign Language Helps You Gain More Exposure
Studying a foreign language provides you with the ability of being able to travel abroad and integrate. It gives you the upper hand when visiting tourist areas because you speak the language and there’s no chance of being conned for example by the locals. If you’re trying to find a certain street or place, you can easily ask any of the locals for directions, and trust me, in most cases they’re surprised and impressed when they see a foreigner speaking their own language. You become an interesting person as you will be given the ability to share a lot of experiences not only with friends but even with locals of a different country and they, in turn, will be willing to share their stories with you. Could life get any more interesting?!
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