Many would say that one’s education is not complete without the opportunity to learn a second language. Both the language learning journey and the accomplishment of becoming fluent in a second language offers traditional students and lifelong learners excellent returns on their time investments. For example, the benefits of second language acquisition impact peoples’ personal, academic and professional lives in such ways that many make resolutions to learn at least one new language. Here are some reasons that learning a new language can bring greater depth to one’s education at any age.
Introduction to New Cultures
Besides doing an in-depth gastronomy study on a region, learning the language of a region’s people is one of the best and most enjoyable ways to explore that group’s culture. The region’s language often contains hidden history about its inhabitants. One can sometimes determine if the society is composed of homogeneous or heterogeneous ethnic groups just by studying their common language. For example, the people of the United States speak a version of the English language that has adopted words and phrases from the languages of many people groups. This type of English dialect is representative of the nation’s history as a cultural melting pot. Even if they do not encounter much linguistic diversity, students can appreciate learning a language that represents a region’s rich history.
Enhances Study Abroad Trips
Many academic programs emphasize presenting their discipline through the lense of the global environment, and instructors encourage students to pursue study abroad trips as a result. Some programs in international business and political science require students to take study abroad sessions to graduate. Students who have taken the time to learn the language of their host country have unique opportunities available to them. First, they will likely enjoy their time abroad more and make new friends faster than those who can only communicate in their mother tongue. Second, students can easily go from basic conversational language skills to fluency in a language when given the opportunity for complete immersion. Upon termination of a study abroad program, a student can ideally gain a global perspective on their academic area of study, many valuable international business and personal contacts and mastery of a second language.
Broadens Employment Options
Competence in a second language can open up numerous avenues for young professionals in today’s global work force. The main reason that academia has changed curricula at the university level to include a global mindset is because industry has demanded graduates that think and make decisions based on that perspective. These students have great opportunities to join companies that operate at the international, multinational and global levels. Those who have second language skills are often preferred by hiring managers for certain positions that require frequent travel to particular countries or interaction with people who speak the foreign language known by the employee.
Promotes Brain Development
In an age where cognitive degenerative diseases are common, many people seek ways to keep their brains sharp through regular exercise. There are numerous brain exercise games that can be found in books and online, but few exercises help people to maintain brain health quite like learning a new language according neuroscience experts. The latest studies conclude that second language acquisition helps a part of the brain to grow significantly, and the brain growth is directly linked to performance. Thus, language learning activities can improve brain capacity, and people who learn languages well gain the most brain enhancing benefits.
The Information Age has made language acquisition easier to accomplish for anyone who makes a commitment to continue learning. Besides seeking out the above benefits, students often learn a second language simply because it is fun.