“I’m too old to learn another language.”
“My brain doesn’t work right… I can’t remember new words.”
“I’m not one of those language types.”
“I was never good at languages in school.”
“Learning something new is just too difficult.”
We’ve all heard the excuses and explanations. In fact, I admit that I’ve used at least a couple of those lines in the past couple of years. But now that I’ve made it through to the other side, I can attest that learning a new language has many benefits you probably haven’t yet considered.
As I live in Colombia, learning Spanish has been my focus. However, the following benefits apply to any new language you may study…
Top 7 Benefits Of Learning A Foreign Language
- Improve your mental health. Numerous studies have shown that studying another language decreases a person’s chances of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease while increasing memory capacity and critical-thinking skills and stimulating creativity.
- Open personal doors. When you speak more than one language, the number of people you can communicate with grows exponentially. Literature, movies, and music in other languages become more meaningful and rich.
- Open financial doors. In the employment arena, being bilingual (or even better, a polyglot) increases your marketability as a job candidate and makes you more desirable to employers in our ever-expanding business world. Speaking multiple languages may also yield more career choices.
- Expand your cultural horizons. Traveling takes on new dimensions when you can ask questions and understand the answers from people in other countries. When you speak the same language, folks are eager to share their culture with you. You’ll be welcomed more readily by natives if you possess even a basic knowledge of their language and you can become an active participant in cultural events.
- Help others. With advanced language skills you might work abroad, deal with international clients, volunteer in low-income or deprived countries, or maybe just help translate for a foreigner in your home country who is struggling to understand a situation.
- Increased cultural awareness. A second language will increase your global understanding as you learn how other people communicate. You’ll see the world through more than one lens and appreciate the differences and similarities between your culture and others—all without the need of a guide or translator to interpret for you.
- Challenge yourself while having fun. Although it’s difficult to learn a new language, once you achieve this goal, your world will be opened to new adventures in travel, food, dance, music, art, literature, and other cultures. You can take pride in accomplishing such an important goal.
And, here are two bonus reasons why you should consider learning Spanish…
- Spanish is one of the most popular languages in the world. With over 470 million Spanish speakers worldwide, it’s the fourth most commonly spoken language on the planet. It’s also the official language in 21 countries across four continents… and the second most popular language in Europe (after English).
- The Spanish impact in the United States is growing. It’s estimated that the United States has more than 35 million Spanish speakers and that 40% of the U.S. population growth is attributed to Hispanic people. According to the 2011 U.S. Census, 12.9% of Americans speak Spanish at home. The Association of Spanish Language Academies projects that, by 2050, the United States will be the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
For many people, learning a new language can feel like a herculean task. However, the rewards clearly outweigh the effort and difficulty. Whether you live overseas, do business with foreign companies, or just want to understand other cultures and participate in more enriching activities, learning a second (or third) language is worth the effort.