Why learn a foreign language?
This year for European Days of Languages we decided to run a number of events and activities to raise awareness of the importance of language learning. One of the activities was a competition to write a blog post in no more than 500 words on why we should learn foreign languages. Here’s the first entry which makes for very good reading. The standard has been set high …
There are many different reasons why learning a foreign language would be beneficial to you. Aside from being able to communicate with people around the world and enhancing your holiday experience, learning a foreign language is actually also scientifically proven to make one smarter. By speaking a foreign language, you improve your ability to acquire relevant information and apply it in various situations, to reason and problem solve, to increase your memory and attention span, and to increase your mental flexibility. It also enhances your ability to multitask; this is because when learning a second language, you are required to switch between different systems of speech, writing and structure, and because you are constantly practicing these abilities, it becomes easier to do in various other situations.
By learning a foreign language, you also, strangely enough, improve your first language. As speaking your first language is instinctive, you often don’t take notice of the mechanics of the language, such as the grammar, sentence structures and so on. Whereas when you learn a new language, it is very important to concentrate on the mechanics in order to understand the language, therefore, you are made aware of how a language is made up and are able to apply this to your first language.
Learning about different cultures is inevitable when learning a language. By learning about the way different people around the world live their lives and their traditions, you become more open minded and become more understanding of different cultures and ideas. Sure, you are able to learn about the culture of a country without speaking the language, but in doing so, there is a large part of the culture that is barred to your understanding, without the ability to communicate and understand the language, you are not able to truly understand the culture. Not only this, but when travelling to a different country, you are able to better your holiday experience. By speaking the language, you are able to communicate with the people around you and you are able to immerse yourself into the country and experience.
By being able to speak more than one language, you increase your employability. Whilst a large part of the world is English speaking, there is also a large part which isn’t. There are few jobs which don’t require communication of some form, and by being able to communicate in more than one language, you are able to communicate with more people when working in a company, and this is considered a desirable trait to employers.
Have you ever considered living or studying abroad? Are you looking for a change? Learning another language might just open the door for you to do so. There are so many opportunities out there and having the knowledge of another language makes it so much easier for you to go out there and get them. And last but not least, learning a foreign language is fun!
by Emilie (UV)
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