Learning a second language can open new doors for you! By learning an additional language, you are much more likely to learn about different cultures, break down almost any language barrier you may face, and even improve your own mental health!
When Chris and I first moved to Costa Rica, we were excited to test our new skills throughout our daily lives. But we quickly realized that native speakers are a bit harder to understand than Duolingo had us initially believe. However, we are not deterred from learning a new foreign language. In fact, we are excited to improve our language skills and make new friends doing so!
If you are still not convinced about learning a language other than your mothers tongue, this list is meant for you!
#1: The Ability to Thrive in a Foreign Country
The difference between surviving and thriving is huge. Language learning is a great way to get around the country but to also shop, order food, ask for directions, and even offer career opportunities if you plan on staying for a long time!
On top of all that, those who know more than one language often have greater communication skills. This often allows them to make new friends when they travel to a foreign country. This is because your self-esteem is boosted when you are confident in your own abilities without having to rely on technology or language books at the moment.
Many of the new friends that we have made since moving to Costa Rica are fellow ex-pats from countries in Central and South America. But the more Spanish we learn, the more locals we meet and befriend! And nothing beats the local homemade cuisine around here! There is something about meeting locals and actually bonding with them that makes Costa Rica feel less like a dream and more like home.
#2: Experience New Cultures
Being a language learner means having an amazing opportunity to learn the different perspectives of those who know the native tongue. Oftentimes, there are even new words for you to learn that English speakers don’t have words for.
For example, the “Saudade” is a Portuguese word that means “ the feeling of longing for an absent something or someone that you love, but they may never return.” It is a beautiful word with an even more beautiful meaning. Which we would have known about if we were not open-minded enough to learn outside of our own language.
Learning the native language, which in our case is Spanish, has allowed us to experience Costa Rica in different ways! We can eat at more local restaurants and sodas, travel to less touristy areas, and communicate better with locals who are not fluent in English.
#3: You Could Have Bilingual Children
Giving birth abroad to our little one, Luca, we are more excited than ever to have him learn Spanish as he grows up. We want him to be a lifetime language learner. It will give him a competitive edge in applying for colleges and, eventually, a career. It will also allow him to make meaningful connections to people around him, where communication would have otherwise been closed.
We have also learned that knowing beyond your first language improves your attention span! And more often than not, bilingual speakers can have an easier time with both language arts and even math skills!
On top of the many benefits learning a second language brings to its students, it also increases their ability to listen better! Something I am sure we all hoped our children did better from time to time.
Luca has an amazing future ahead of him, and we are doing our best to set him up for success! He has an early start in Spanish from spending time with his Nany, who speaks, sings, and reads to him in her native tongue. He will soon be able to bond with his peers and connect on a deeper level with them. This is because he will be (at least) bilingual.
#4: Have a Better Memory
People who speak a second language have been known to have a ton of cognitive benefits in different parts of the brain. In case you didn’t know (because I definitely did not), the cognitive function allows us to think, explore, and figure things out.
Learning more than a single language can improve executive function. While allowing the brain’s gray matter to make new connections. Thus, allowing the person to have a better memory! In fact, bilingual people are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease than older adults, according to the American Academy of Neurology.
And the surprising benefits do not end there. According to a study published at the University of Chicago, language learning can even improve one’s decision-making skills!
I am not a brain expert by any means. But all these things sound great for young and older brain development!
#5: Have a More Global Perspective
As I have mentioned earlier, the bilingual experience is completely different while traveling to a new country in only the best ways. But the globalized world also allows bilingual individuals to be in high demand.
As technology advances, the world gets a bit smaller, and the global economy gets bigger and more inclusive. The new market allows young adults to take a major part in influencing the job market in new and practical ways.
Career prospects and other job opportunities are constantly growing. And bilingual candidates are getting hired much more often than their monolingual peers. And the jobs vary! Bilingual and multilingual people are higher in all types of jobs–from teaching in a classroom to working in technology and even politics!
And when it comes to paying, bilingual people are usually given a higher beginning salary than those who only speak a single language. This is because companies view those with a higher skill set as a more valuable asset. And it is not a small difference, either. The pay is usually higher by 5-20%! That is huge!
#6: Change the Status Quo
It is no secret that Americans are not known for being bilingual. At least, not fluently. Sure, we must take a year or two of a foreign language while attending high school or college. And even though we pass the classes (and in some cases, just BARELY), that does not mean we are fluent speakers.
As the world continues to get smaller through technology, we have the opportunity to interact with more people. This means that we have to learn more languages just to improve the global community and cooperate with other countries even better!
The time has come when Americans should step up their language learning skills and show other countries that we care to communicate with them as much as they want to communicate with us. And not expect them to be the only ones learning a foreign language. The phrase “arrogant American” has been thrown around for too long, but it’s because so many refuse to learn more than just English.
But that can easily be changed. I know that I will not stop at becoming fluent in Spanish. I would love to continue challenging myself and learn maybe another language or two! Luckily for me, there is no limit to learning new languages.
One of the great things about learning a new language is that those who speak it will always appreciate you, even trying to learn. As long as you stay as respectful as possible, people will always respect and admire you for doing so.
It Is Easier Than Ever to Learn a New Language!
The ability to learn a new language has improved greatly over the last few years. Anyone can learn at any time of the day and through almost any type of media. Personally, I have been working with Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish and will continue to learn different languages after I am more fluent!
And if you would like to learn a new language fast, Rosetta Stone is the way to do it! This language learning program has been around for 30 years, and it has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Something that makes Rosetta Stone stand out amongst the crowd is its ability to immerse itself within the language. It uses multiple ways to teach you by using different scenarios, activities, and records of people actually speaking the language. It is also well-paced and makes sure that you feel supported as you continue to learn.
And That’s Not All!
On top of all that, Rosetta Stone is no longer solely meant to teach individuals on their own. It is available to companies and even schools! The industry program focuses a bit more on work scenarios, and the school program has the ability to be integrated into the actual classroom for group learning.
An annual subscription to Rosetta Stone is only $9.99 a month and gives you access to all 25 languages. They also have a Lifetime Subscription, and to join, you only need to pay a one-time fee of $179! Or, if you wanna try it out before committing, their 3-month subscription costs $11.99 per month.
Such a steal, considering the number of awesome features their program has. Rosetta Stone is way more affordable than going to classes or hiring a tutor, and their approach to learning a new language is just better than any other program that I have tried in the past.
I’ve been using Rosetta Stone for two months, and I’m really proud of my progress. Their app makes it easy to stick to it and not give up. And soon, I will finally be able to tick “learn Spanish” off my bucket list!
The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!
A Quick Retrospective…
Bilingual people (including multilingual people) have a significant advantage over monolingual people. Not only does language learning provide new opportunities, but it also staves off cognitive decline!
Now that I look back on it, I am annoyed with my younger self for not taking those 4+ years of Spanish class more seriously throughout high school and even in college. I wish someone would have told me how many health benefits, the improvement of brain function, and job opportunities there are for a bilingual person.
On second thought, though, I doubt I would have listened to them and taken it more seriously.
Since moving from the United States earlier this year, Chris and I both have realized just how important it is to go into learning a new target language with nothing but positive attitudes.
By increasing our education level in Spanish, we will meet new people in a more meaningful way. We will also be able to raise our Luca in a bilingual household. And (hopefully) he will learn more than just the local language but other languages as well!
There are so many amazing reasons to learn a new language. Other than just being used on your travels around the world or increasing your chances of landing your dream job, being bilingual (or multilingual) in today’s day and age can make a huge difference in your life!
When I first began writing this, I had no idea all of the different ways how learning a new language could be so beneficial! This has given me a whole new perspective on the world of languages. And I am excited to learn even more!
Do you speak another language other than your native language? What language(s) do you speak? Please let us know in the comments below and tell us why!