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Now’s the Time – 15 Reasons to Start Your Language Learning Immediately

Now’s the Time – 15 Reasons to Start Your Language Learning Immediately

If you aren’t currently working on learning another language, you should be. Not sold on the idea? Here are 15 fantastic reasons to quit procrastinating and start doing.

Travel Benefit 1 – Cheaper Transportation

Being able to speak the language of a country you visit simply means it will be cheaper for you. If you know at least the basics of the language and can get directions from someone, you will have a much easier time taking public transportation. If you don’t know the basics, you will be stuck with transportation options like cabs and shuttles, which tend to be a lot more expensive.

If nothing else, get a phrasebook to help you. Native speakers can help find the right phases to make sure you get the right idea.

Travel Benefit 2 – Cheaper Lodging and More Authentic

When you travel, you want a more authentic experience without it costing a fortune. Being able to discuss basic information with hotel personnel will mean you can quickly determine which ones meet your needs.

In this case a guidebook is a disadvantage. They tend to point you to places where English is an option, which defeats the point of living like a local. Knowing the language will make it much easier to research places to spend the night. You will be able to stay at more places by being able to speak their language.

Travel Benefit 3 – Cheaper, Easier, More Authentic Dining

One of the best aspects of traveling is getting authentic food. This is best done by being able to speak the language. You will be able to read the menus, figure out what is likely to make you happy and what you want to avoid.

If you aren’t sure where to eat, you can always ask the locals. They can point you to their favorite places, giving you a much more authentic visit than if you go by guidebooks or tourists.

Travel Benefit 4 – More Interesting Experiences

Being able to talk with locals and understand the conversations really changes the world around you. Instead of sitting passively watching people chatter without any understanding what they are saying, you will have the opportunity to actually interact with a much wider range of people. Even something as mundane as signs appear different when you know the language because translations are very different. Being able to better understand the world around you is just more fun.

Travel Benefit 5 – More Opportunities

This benefit is my favorite – when you know the native language of a place you are visiting, you get a lot more opportunities than you have as a nonspeaking tourist. Even if all you do is take a local tour of an area, you are going to get a much more detailed description of what you see. This is particularly true the further you go from cities. If you want to really explore a country, you really need to know the language to get the most out of the experience.

Mental Benefit 1 – Improved Cognitive Ability and Memory

This payback is pretty cool considering it isn’t exactly the reason most people learn a language. However, many studies have shown that knowing another language improves your cognitive abilities and memory. It also means that the next language you learn will be easier.

A large part of this is because your mind is better able to switch between tasks and ideas. In today’s fast-paced environment, that is definitely a good thing.

Mental Benefit 2 – Better Self-Control and Focus

It hasn’t been explained yet, but people who know more than one language have better self-control. It is far less surprising that they are also better at focusing. It is suspected that this is in large part because the bilingual brain is accustomed to having to choose the right words in the correct language. When you have to constantly monitor what you say, you become a lot better at both types of behaviors.

Mental Benefit 3 – Acts to Fight against Alzheimer’s and Dementia

This mental benefit is somewhat shocking and really makes the brain that much more interesting to study. However, studies have found that multilinguals are far less likely to be victims of these two illnesses. When multilinguals do suffer symptoms, their cognitive abilities erode much slower than the cognitive abilities of monolinguals.

Education Benefit 1 – Top Students

If you are still in school (or are considering returning to school), being multilingual significantly improves your chances of being a better student. Top of the class better. They do better on standardized tests, which can affect what college you get accepted to.

Education Benefit 2 – Better Grades in English

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but you probably didn’t consider that learning another language actually makes you better at your own. When you learn about the different grammar, sounds, and vocabulary, you gain a new understanding, and that translates to better grades in English classes for most students.

Employment Benefit 1 – Better Job Outlook

Employers love employees who know more than one language. It gives them an advantage that they don’t otherwise have, even if the language isn’t one  employers think they need. Even if you don’t see a correlation between your second language and a job application, having it on your resume is much more likely to attract the attention of potential employers, increasing your chance of finding a job, or a better job.

Employment Benefit 2 – Better Pay

Whether or not an employer uses your language skills now, you have leverage to get better pay simply because there is the potential for your skills to be used. It’s a bit of leverage that no one who speaks multiple languages should overlook.

Social Benefit 1 – Widening Your Social Potential

For every language you learn, you expand the number of people with whom you can communicate. Of course, there are many English speaking countries, and many more countries where people know English, but many of those latter countries will be very appreciative of someone who also knows their language. There are also a lot of people who only know their native tongue (just like there are many, many people who only know English). If you want to widen your social circle, knowing another language is the way to go.

Social Benefit 2 – Add to Your Appeal

There is just something that is incredibly attractive about someone who can speak multiple languages. People just tend to love a foreign accent because there is something about it that is so mysterious and appealing.

Social Benefit 3 – More Privacy

Have you ever listened to someone speaking a foreign language and felt a bit jealous because you knew that no one else could understand them? It’s like a little bubble of privacy no matter where you are or how crowded it is. The more languages you know, the more private your personal conversations can be.