Learning a foreign language is an extremely rewarding way to spend your time. It's definitely more productive than vegging out in front of the TV or aimlessly scrolling through TikTok. There are many reasons for learning another language such as gaining a new perspective on the world, exercising your brain, and meeting new people. For even more reasons, let’s take a look at the “Seven C’s” for learning a new language.
- Countries Beyond International travel is much more convenient and enjoyable when you know the language of your destination country. While English can help you get by in many countries, don’t count on that to always be the case. Even countries with a fair number of English-speakers can be more thoroughly enjoyed if you speak the native language. Even the most basic tasks such as reading street signs, asking where the bathroom is, or ordering a dessert, can be difficult if you don't speak the local language.
- Cultural Awareness Learning a foreign language broadens your appreciation and understanding of other cultures. When you learn another language, you learn how those speakers communicate and perceive the world around them. Stepping into that culture’s shoes through their language makes you more aware and empathetic. Consider how much more open and aware the world would be if everyone knew at least two languages and spent time immersed in a different culture.
Connect Learning another language can greatly expand your circle of friends, locally and internationally. There are numerous websites dedicated to foreign pen pals, language exchanges, and travel companions from all around the globe.
If you opt to take a regularly occurring course, whether online or in person, you can meet new people as well. For instance, for French and German your local Alliance Francaise or Goethe Institute can help facilitate meeting new people locally.
Cha-Ching When you travel abroad, you are more likely to spend less money when you know the language. Food and other items in tourist areas are often overpriced. These areas may be appealing to tourists because English is more widely spoken there. However, knowing the local language, you'll be confident enough to travel off the beaten path and, as a result, pay lower prices.
You will also be able to effectively bargain. While price haggling is not common in North America, it is widespread and widely accepted in many other countries. It's difficult to bargain if you don't speak the local language.
- Career Many jobs want or require employees with the ability to communicate in another language. Even if you stay in your home country, knowing another language is powerful in the business world. Nearly every job in the world has connection to other countries, cultures and thus, other languages. By knowing another language, you'll have a unique and powerful skill to add to your resume.
Cranium Learning a foreign language improves your listening and memory skills. With learning and using a foreign language, you need to pay close attention to what's being said, thus requiring your brain muscle to work a little harder. Few other activities can stretch your brain as much as learning a foreign language.
Your brain will actually be healthier in the long run. Learning a foreign language has been shown in studies to help slow the progression of various types of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, bilinguals have been shown to have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease than monolinguals.
- Can Do! Not everyone is willing or dedicated to learn another language. You can learn to do something that you previously thought was out of your reach. While some languages are particularly difficult for native English speakers, millions of people have learned to speak them. And once you start to make progress, you will see you can do it, too!
With so many language programs available online today, learning a new language is simply and convenient. Many language apps are free, and those with a fee can be quite reasonably priced. Take a look at the many resources available online and start learning a language today. It is never too late to begin learning another language!