Should you learn another language? It’s a good idea if you’re thinking about moving abroad.
Why would you move to another country? There are plenty of reasons—a career move, to be with the love of your life and raise a family, or to complete your degree in cultural anthropology. It’s also possible that you just yearn to travel and would love to create a blog on the nomadic lifestyle.
If you end up in China, it would be helpful if you could speak Chinese. If you decide to learn Chinese online, it would give you a decisive head start before you got to China. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to learning a language only if you’re going abroad. Even if you aren’t traveling anywhere or moving abroad, you might have business associates or clients who are Asian and it would be beneficial to learn to their language.
So, regardless of whether you’re going to move abroad, travel around to see the world, or connect with people from a different culture in your own local area, here are 5 good reasons why you should learn another language:
1. You’ll expand your career options.
As the world becomes increasingly globalized, corporations are beginning to value bilingualism or multilingualism more. You’ll be one of those rare people who are constantly sent on assignment to different countries because your company is doing business overseas. Moreover, even if a company has no international dealings, mentioning that you speak two or more languages in your resume will make you stand out as a job candidate when you’re applying for a new job. It will convince the hiring manager that you’re above average.
2. You’ll get smarter.
Neuroscientists now believe that intelligence isn’t fixed but fluid. The more you use your brain, the better it works. They have found that people who study anything new forces the brain to start paying attention and this initiates the growth of new brain cells. Since learning a new vocabulary, new grammar, and even new perspectives stimulates the brain, your memory and attention span will improve.
Getting smarter doesn’t just help you tap more opportunities in life and make better decisions; it will also help reduce the likelihood of brain disorders like Alzheimer or Dementia as you get older and it may even help you live longer.
However, the benefits don’t stop at improving the density of your neural networks or increasing your longevity. You’ll also get more efficient at learning in general.
Moreover, if you do decide to learn another language, you’ll find learning a third or fourth language even easier. This is because you have learned how to study more efficiently and this skill of being able to turn sounds that makes no sense into sounds that make perfect sense is a meta-skill that you can apply to other fields of learning.
3. You’ll expand your circle of friends.
Currently, your circles of friends are people who speak the same language. This also means that you all share a similar worldview since each language encodes historically-based cultural ideas. When you learn another language, you’ll be exposed to different perspectives about the nature of the world.
If you’re single, this expansion of your circle might even include romantic possibilities.
4. You’ll see your own culture from a different perspective.
As you learn a language, you’ll be translating the new language into your own to understand it. This comparison and contrast will give you insights about your own language. In addition, when you speak to someone from another culture in their language, you’ll get their perspective on your culture.
5. You’ll become the life of the party.
Catching a glimpse of another culture from an insider’s perspective will make you much more curious about other cultures and how the world works. In addition, you’ll probably impress (or elicit the envy) of all your monolingual friends with your broader outlook on life at a party.
After reading this list of benefits, you might want to ask yourself a different question. “Is there even a single good reason why I should limit myself to speaking only one language?”