7 Unexpected Benefits of Learning a Second Language

By OptiLingo • 5 minute read

Learning a language takes time and dedication. Fortunately, it comes with countless benefits. While you may have heard of the obvious ones, there are few you wouldn’t expect. These can inspire you, and motivate you to reach fluency. Here are 7 amazing benefits of learning a second language.

1. Learning a Second Language Can Reduce Stress

Yoga isn’t the only way to reduce stress. It turns out that learning a second language gives you a different, more positive outlook. This can lead to reduced stress. A study on bilingual people showed their improved self-esteem.

They were less anxious, less lonely, and generally much happier than monolingual people. While speaking a foreign language can come nerve-wracking, defeating language anxiety can give you the confidence you need. This may be why multilingual people are generally considered more easy-going and approachable.

By understanding a different culture, you can empathize better.  With a wider emotional range and perspective, socializing becomes easier too.

the benefits of learning a second language can help you rediscover yourself

2. Rediscover Yourself by Becoming Fluent

Speaking a foreign language gives you a different personality. It’s true. A study found that bilingual people shift their personalities when switching between two languages. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’ll change the core of your being.

For example, you may find more confidence when speaking your target language. Or you find that you’re more outgoing and perceptive than in your native tongue. These positive changes described are benefits no one expected when learning a second language. Although they may not be the most motivating feature, it’s certainly an interesting observation.

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3. Improved Nonverbal Communication as a Benefit

Language is communication. It may surprise you, but speaking languages is more than just speaking. It’s also using and understanding non-verbal cues. When you’re learning a second language you realize how important gestures, eye contact, and facial expression are.

By learning a second language, you can unlock your perception of this information. You’ll consciously notice body language, and learn to interpret it. This is because you rely on non-verbal cues more. When you start to learn, you have no other choice. As you progress to fluency, you’ll be more comfortable in your target language. But, this newfound ability won’t disappear. This makes you more emotionally aware.

4. A New World Perspective Through Foreign Language

When you learn a language, you view the world in a different light. Literally. It gives your brain a completely new way to look at life. This is because other languages express cultures entirely different to your own. You discover a completely new way of thinking.

If you ask an English speaker what color the sky is, they’ll say blue. If you ask a Japanese person, they’ll give you a more descriptive color. They’ll say light or dark blue. In fact, this linguistic difference influences much more. A study found that Japanese people saw different types of blue as different colors. They could describe the distinction between them. This is just one example of how language can influence world perspective.

Speaking a second language means you get a glimpse of this. You’ll be exposed to different mindsets and interpretations of your surroundings.

the benefits of learning a second language can rewire your brain

5. Being Bilingual Makes You More Rational

Bilingualism has serious ripple effects on other areas of your life. For example, you may make better financial decisions. Or choose a smarter career path. This is because speaking different languages forces you to step back, detach emotions, and view the big picture clearly. You’ll notice that you become more rational and level headed than you were before.

Speaking a second language improves your memory because of how you study. But it can also make you better at problem-solving in general. Multilingual people demonstrate more aware when it comes to obstacles. Navigating two or more languages uses your cognitive skills, and that translates to juggling other tasks too. This makes you a better multitasker.

6. Unlock Your Creativity Through Fluency

When you discover different cultures and world views you become a more well-versed person. You can use that for your creativity. Incorporate the benefits of learning a second language into your everyday life consciously. Meet people and make friends easily. Watch films, read books, learn about art like you never have before.

You can also use your creativity to find new ways to learn a language. As you improve, the easier it will become. Once you’ve reached fluency, practice and progress doesn’t have to halt. Your creativity is the only limit. Unlock more opportunities through this skill.

7. Learning Can Give You a Natural High

Learning and succeeding is a natural high. It can make you feel good. Achieving goals and pushing your limits can help your self-confidence and self-esteem. In fact, learning a second language stimulates the please centers of the brain. The same area when you’re eating chocolate.

Therefore going through the process already benefits you. Imagine what you can achieve if you become fluent. Second language proficiency will improve your life.