Benefits of Learning a Second Language

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Benefits of Learning a Second Language

It is not uncommon to hear adults say they wish they had paid more attention in a high school or college-level foreign language course. Other adults may have grown up with a parent who was a native speaker of another language and are disappointed that the language was not passed on to them.

Whatever the circumstance, learning a second (or even third!) language has numerous benefits. One obvious reason is that you increase the number of people with whom you can communicate. Perhaps one of your grandparents speaks Croatian, a language you’ve never fully grasped, or maybe you live in a community where Vietnamese is widely spoken. Either way, studying a second language, even on a basic level, expands your potential for effectively communicating with others.

Most of us have many more hours to spare in 2020 (in fact, more time than we care to admit). By using that time to learn a second language, you can invest in a practical and creative way to build your skillset for both personal use and the job market.

Some of the countless benefits of learning a second language include:

  • The chance to become more competitive in the job market – Companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey are increasingly hiring more bilingual employees (notably employees who speak Spanish) to help expand their services to more of the state’s community. They are making efforts to build a staff who can communicate in clients’ first languages to make the process of navigating healthcare easier.
  • The ability to increase your brainpower – This New York Times article cites studies that lists the ability to better monitor your surrounding environment as an important skill gained with bilingualism.
  • The opportunity to make more friends MeetUp groups are local groups around the globe that offer members the chance to network with people who are interested in the same topics you are. Language-learning MeetUp groups are one of the most popular offerings. In non-COVID times, these groups typically meet in public spaces like restaurants and coffee shops, offering a casual atmosphere to practice speaking a second language while socializing with others.
  • Understanding more of the world around you – Once you begin studying another language, you will be surprised how often what you know pops up into your daily life. You may hear a few lines of that Russian spoken in a movie you’re watching with your friends and understand the plot better, or maybe you can now read your local French restaurant’s menu and know what you are actually ordering.

As our world becomes increasingly connected, there has been no greater time to sit down and learn the basics of a foreign language. Instead of sitting around watching yet another Netflix show, make the best use of your downtime and come out of the pandemic with a stronger skillset than when it started. You may find that your job opportunities will have increased as well as your social circle!

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