Studying and Student life

Why learn a new language?

The psycholinguist Frank Smith once said: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way”. Mastering many languages is always beneficial. It means expanding your horizons and enriching yourself, both personally and professionally. In a world where borders are fading, a second – or third, or fourth, - language provides greater understanding and tolerance of others. In an educational world that increasingly emphasizes 21st century skills, knowledge of a foreign language is virtually indispensable. In a business world that is increasingly more international, an extra language is an important addition to a CV or resume which can offer better career opportunities.

There are also a number of scientifically-proven advantages to learning a new language. Here are a few examples:

  • Multilinguals are better multitaskers. Their brains are used to switching between different languages and because of that, they are also able to switch between two different processes.
  • Multilinguals are more rational in their decision making. When people learn a language, they also learn the nuances between different words and have to think about which word to use and when. This capability aids decision making in difficult situations.
  • People who speak more languages, observe their own surroundings better. They can distinguish relevant factors from side issues and recognize misleading information.
  • Learning a foreign language contributes to maintaining cerebral activity. While the brain is preoccupied with registering new vocabulary and conversational skills, new neural pathways are created that improve memory and the brain. Remarkably, being multilingual can delay the onset of Alzheimer by four years.
  • Learning a foreign language improves short-term memory. Memory can be seen as a muscle and the more you exercise a muscle, the better it works. People who learn multiple languages are better at remembering summaries, names and lists.
  • People who learn a new language not only learn something about that specific language, but also about language in general. People who often work with language communicate more efficiently and even their listening skills improve.