Whether academic, aspirational or a combination of factors, there is a multitude of reasons why you may be considering learning a new language or taking a degree in a foreign language. From introductory coursework to advanced degrees, schools and universities all over the world offer language studies which can help transform your dream into a reality. And while mastering a foreign language takes no small amount of time and effort, the payoffs are exponential. If you’re still on the fence about whether modern language study is the right path, consider the many advantages offered by multilingualism.
1 – Job Marketability
The contemporary workplace is increasingly globalized. As the digital era continues to break down conventional geographical barriers, international collaboration has reached critical mass. Businesses need employees who can keep pace with the new global landscape. In many cases, this means multilingual workers who don’t just speak other languages, but who also understand and value diverse cultures.
Studying a degree in a foreign language doesn’t just bestow upon you a highly desirable skill set, it also gives you an invaluable leading edge by presenting you to potential employers as a distinctly 21st century candidate.
2 – Job Success
Not only can foreign language skills help you get a job, they can also help you keep one. Why? Because mastering several languages isn’t just about words; it’s also about an underlying cultural understanding that is particularly sought after in today’s workplace. This perspective can help you get ahead in a number of industries — from medicine and marketing to teaching and technology. In short, language skills don’t just open doors; they keep them open.
3 – It’s a Multicultural World
While learning about other cultures helps you on the job front, there’s an even bigger picture when it comes to mastering several languages. If you want to be a responsible citizen of the world, multilingualism offers a valuable viewpoint into other cultures, ways of life, and personal experiences. In learning new languages, you will develop a deeper respect for other people, as well as a larger understanding of human nature and the world at large.
4 – Boost Your Brain (And Your Body!)
Sure, speaking a foreign language makes you a more marketable job candidate, but did you know that learning to recognize and communicate in a different language actually alters positively your cognitive abilities? These advantages are seen across several areas, including problem-solving and even test scores.
Specifically, research has shown that bilingual children have a unique cognitive configuration which enables them to outperform monolinguals — those who speak only one language — in standardized tests in subjects such as vocabulary, reading and even math.
5 – Improve Your First Language Skills
Learning a second, third or fourth language offers surprising benefits when it comes to your understanding of your native tongue. When children first assimilate language, much of it is absorbed naturally and seemingly without much thought for rhyme or reason. Learning an additional language as an adult, however, forces you to go back and consider how the mechanics of language work.
6 – Make Better Decisions
Did you know that one good decision — at least when it comes to foreign language study — leads to another? Why? Because speaking a second language actually has the ability to improve your overall decision-making skills.