Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. (Old Chinese Proverb)
Learning a new language is a journey filled with great experiences and everyone has his or her own reason to embark on it. But there are a few ways in which learning a foreign language will forever change the way you experience many aspects of life.
1. English is not the most commonly spoken language in the world
Did you know that the two most commonly spoken languages in the world are Mandarin and Spanish? That’s right. Whether you’re traveling for business or for pleasure, chances are that you will find more people along the way who speak either Mandarin or Spanish than people who speak English. Learning an extra foreign language, besides English, will increase your chances of interacting with people around the world in their mother tongue.
2. Stand out from the crowd
Today we are over 7 billion people living on planet Earth and many of us try to be special one way or another. A foreign language will definitely make you stand out from the crowd, especially if it’s less common.
3. Impress people
Imagine that you’re at a party or with a new group of people and you’ve just completed a Japanese language course. This new skill will definitely get you some positive attention from the ones around you.
4. Truly appreciate international literature, music and film
Imagine reading the original works of your favorite foreign author. Or watching French films without subtitles. Learning a foreign language can help you enjoy international art in its purest form, just like the artist intended it to be.
5. Enhance your employability
Language skills are greatly valued in the selection process for most jobs. Nowadays companies operate across borders and continents and hiring managers expect you to speak at least one international language. Any additional language on your resume will increase your chances of landing that dream job.
6. Study abroad
The world of education is rapidly evolving and every year more students are involved in international exchange programs. If you’re one of those students or if you plan to be, don’t limit your options to universities that offer courses in English. Learn a foreign language and choose the countries where the teaching language is not accessible to the rest of your colleagues. This will definitely lead to a unique experience and it will make you stand out from the crowd.
7. Meet new people and develop international friendships
A common language helps people connect. This can happen either during your globetrotting, over the internet or within language-related meetups. Speaking a foreign language will help you interact with more people and create life-long friendships anywhere in the world.
8. Completely transform the travel experience
Traveling should be one of the main reasons why anyone would want to learn a new language. Imagine that you’re traveling to an exotic country and you can experience not only its vivid scenery and amazing food smells, but also the conversations around you. Aside from this, speaking the local language will help you better interact with people and in some countries, you can even bargain for that overpriced souvenir or taxi ride to the airport.
9. Discover a new culture
Learning a foreign language is so much more than just memorizing words or pronunciation. When you learn a foreign language, you immerse yourself not only in that language’s vocabulary but also in the cultures where the language is spoken. It’s a truly rich learning experience.
10. Increase global understanding and create a brighter future for everyone
Most inter-personal conflicts start from miscommunication or no communication. Speaking a foreign language comes with a better understanding of the cultures that speak that language and this can be a great deal when it comes to intercultural communication and resolving conflict. If we all knew how to better talk to each other, the world would definitely be a better place.
How did you benefit from learning a foreign language or what’s your motivation to learn one in the future? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.