Learning a new language is an ambition many of us develop at one time or another. It’s often featured at the top of new years resolutions, or we become inspired to learn the language of a place recently visited. Learning a new language from scratch increases the size of our hippocampus (our brains memory system), improving mental function and our capacity to learn.
Here are five reasons why learning a language should be at the top of your agenda:
Being able to connect with someone is one of the most beautiful gifts in the world. If you are bilingual, you provide yourself with the opportunity to connect with a vast amount more people than you could have otherwise. Imagine if you dedicated some time to learn Mandarin chinese - you’d be able to communicate with over 1.3 billion more people. Knowing a language makes you a local no matter where you are or who you’re with. You become part of groups near you that can also speak that language, or travel to the country of the language you know and become integrated with their people. In the process of learning, you also get to connect with someone new. The best way to start is through frequent conversation with an experienced native or speaker of a language. In doing so, you build strong friendships via shared interests and shared ambition.
Science has demonstrated that the learning of one language broadens your brain's capacity to learn another. Imagine being able to speak several languages at the same time - you’d be able to travel the world like a pro. Travelers that are fluent in more than one language are able to explore further than other tourists - seeing more culture and gaining extraordinary and rare experiences. Learning an additional language also provides opportunity to not only travel, but live in several locations around the world.
Languages are among the top eight skills required of all occupations and the demand for bilingual employees is growing. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. job postings specifically geared toward bilingual candidates more than doubled. Employers are seeking professionals who can communicate effectively with users in new and expanding overseas markets, as well as those currently residing in the host country. As an added incentive in many instances, language skills also lead to hiring bonuses and increased salaries. Whatever your ambition for your career may be … one thing becomes clear with language skills — you’re way ahead of the crowd!
Learning a language is no easy task. It requires a lot of practice and self-motivation. The wonderful thing about the world we live in today is that there are so many resources at are disposal to enhance our learning. Whether it’s using websites such as Duolingo or Hellotalk, we are connected more than ever to useful language resources. No matter how you choose to learn a new language, it requires consistent effort. Succeeding in doing this alters the pathways within the brain to enhance our capacity for future learning and helps to increase your own self-worth and confidence. In an ever distracted world, demonstrable skills of perseverance are required more than ever before.
Researchers have concluded that those who are monolingual (able to speak more than one language) are also generally more creative individuals. Exploring a new language means learning more about a foreign culture and exploring the use of a wider vocabulary. In turn, it encourages individuals to think outside of the box and look for new and exciting ways to do things. All of these are transferable skills that benefit many areas of our lives.
Why not make the first step in learning a new language today by asking for someone to help you. You can do this on Helpfulpeeps as soon as you sign-up. No matter what your level, languages are best learnt with a partner who can speak that language. Utilise online resources such as Duolingo and Rosetta Stone, or take up additional evening classes.