Why Study a Language?
Language is what we use to express ourselves and give meaning to the world around us. It is the ultimate tool of expression for our species. According to several studies, there are approximately 7,000 languages which are spoken around the world.
It’s easy to assume that a language which is widely spoken, such as English, is universally understood the world over. That isn’t always the case. In order to branch out from your current community and place in the world, you need to know foreign languages.
A foreign language opens doors for you to travel, meet new people, get better job opportunities, understand foreign cultures, and increase your knowledge, intelligence, and skill-set. It is a way for you to see the world through multiple different lenses. Given the rise of globalization and the increasing multi-cultural nature of our world, knowing another language is a tremendous asset.
Benefits of Studying a New Language
There are a large number of benefits to studying a foreign language. These include:
Increase your marketability and job prospects – Employers love seeing applicants who are able to speak multiple languages. This is considered a valuable asset because it allows a company to expand its reach into wider communities.
It’ll come in handy when you’re travelling – Chances are whatever language you end up pursuing, you’ll have the chance to speak with native speakers during your travels in life. You’ll also become more confident about travelling to places where English may not be as widely spoken.
Learning other languages becomes easier – After you’ve mastered one language, learning another language will be much easier for you because you’ll already be familiar with the process.
You’ll become less prejudiced and judgmental towards others – One of the biggest reasons for prejudice and judgment towards others is a lack of understanding and empathy for where they’re coming from. Learning a foreign language breaks down those barriers; it fosters an understanding for different people and their language, culture, traditions, and backgrounds.
You’ll develop analytical skills – Studies have found that multilingual people have minds which are far more alert and keen. Through the process of learning a new language from scratch, these individuals become highly perceptive and can critically and analytically use their brains.
Improved communication, listening, and memory skills – When you learn a language, you activate more neural pathways in your brain. In effect, you’re using more of your brain than you would if you were monolingual. This has a number of consequences, such as improved ability to recall information, keen listening skills, and the ability to effectively communicate what you know.
You’ll appreciate cultural diversity – When learning a new language, you also learn about different cultures and how they may have influenced the language. In an increasingly globalized world, being able to appreciate cultural diversity is an asset.
You can improve your overall IQ – Studies show that the process of learning another language or becoming bilingual rigorously exercises your brain and effectively makes you smarter.
Have better problem solving abilities
Score better on standardized tests than monolingual students
Have larger attention spans
Are more logical
Can rationalize better
Have a higher capacity to multitask
Are more aware of their surroundings
Have better decision making skills
Are more perceptive
Learning a new language boosts creativity – Researchers have found that multilingual students are more creative than their monolingual peers. This is because learning a new language forces you to think outside the box; to experiment. It encourages divergent thinking in order to find multiple solutions to a problem at hand. This is the necessary result of working with words and phrases in a completely alien language landscape. The end result is multilingual individuals have a greater propensity for creativity.
Your self-confidence will increase – When you first start learning a new language, the process can be intimidating. Am I saying this right? Do I sound funny? Will native speakers laugh at me? Once you’ve mastered the language, you’ll have overcome those initial doubts and fears thereby increasing your confidence in your abilities.
It can stave off the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia– Several different studies show that individuals who were multilingual experienced the onset of Alzheimer’s almost 5 years later than those who are monolingual.
It can improve your native language – When you become exposed to a new language, you become aware of things like grammar, vocabulary, sentence construction, conjugation, idioms, etc. Initially, in order to understand these mechanics, you need to compare them with your native language to get an idea of how they work. As a result, you become more aware of your use of your native language.
The Benefits of Studying Languages Abroad
While studying a foreign language in and of itself has numerous benefits, where you enroll in language courses is also very important.
Learning a foreign language with the help of textbooks and audio snippets is one thing; experiencing how the language is used in everyday contexts is a completely different dimension of the process, and arguably, one of the most important ones.
By studying abroad, you’ll get to experience real-world situations in which the language must be used. You’ll get to pick up on slang, methods of bargaining, how to strike up informal dialogues, and so much more! This will all help to increase your fluency and your confidence with the language.
Language is heavily influenced by culture, and studying abroad will give you the chance to see the interplay between the two. You’ll be able to witness how ancient traditions, practices and customs have affected certain aspects of a language. Immersing yourself in a different culture is also a way for you to broaden your perspectives, embark on self-discovery, and enjoy an incredibly enriching experience.
One of the biggest advantages of studying a language abroad is being immersed in that language 24/7. When you’re surrounded by native speakers, you can pick up on subtle nuances in the language, as well as the natural cadence and speed with which to speak. These are skills which cannot be learnt in a classroom alone.
Popular Places for Language Courses Abroad
Listed below are some of the most popular language courses that students choose to enroll in and the destinations for learning these languages.
Learning a foreign language has many benefits, all of which are increased if you study that language in a place where it is actually spoken. Enrolling in language programs abroad gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the language, explore a new country and culture, and increase your chances of become fluent. They say the best way to learn is through experience and that holds true for learning a new language too.