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Last Updated on March 5, 2020

7 Ways Learning a Foreign Language can Improve Your Life

7 Ways Learning a Foreign Language can Improve Your Life

Learning a foreign language can enhance your life in so many ways. It can help improve things like health, job opportunities, relationships and personal development. Unfortunately, and maybe generally, those of English-speaking heritage are notoriously lazy when it comes to learning a language other than our own. Once you can speak another language, it can open so many doors. We’ve listed seven excellent reasons as to why you should learn a foreign language.

1. Improve Brain Health

Multiple studies have shown there are many cognitive benefits of learning a foreign language, no matter what your age is. These benefits include a longer attention span, memory improvement, better focus and concentration, and increased listening skills. There are so many quizzes online that finding a good one can be hard; although you might not learn as much as you would in a lesson, you might gain an idea of what level you’re at.

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      2. Increase your Job Opportunities

      There are many ways that languages can be incorporated into potential jobs and used to improve your employment prospects. Many companies operate in multiple countries around the world, therefore hiring employees who can speak at least one foreign language is vital.

      As well as increasing the number of jobs you can get, the ability to speak a different language also sets you apart from other candidates for potential jobs. When up against another person for a job, speaking a foreign language fluently is an admired skill which could easily set you apart from another candidate.

      3. Make Friends and Build Relationships

      Speaking a different language enables you to meet new people who also speak that language, and can result in lifelong friendships that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to make. As well as building relationships with people who speak that language, it also gives the opportunity to learn more about other cultures. You can participate in exciting and engaging conversations about topics which you may have never even discussed before.

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      You can learn more about foreign cultures, attitudes and values as well as finding out more about your own culture, gaining an outsider’s perspective on your culture and how you live. Speaking a different language lets you develop a deeper connection with others, allowing a truly enriched friendship or relationship to blossom.

      4. Improve Holiday Selection

      Going on holiday to somewhere you can speak the language can greatly enhance your experience. There’s nothing better than being able to communicate with the locals, navigate your way round and talk to anyone with ease.

      One of the great things about learning a foreign language is that it is usually used in different places as well as the origin country. For example, Spanish is spoken in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Cuba and many more countries.

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        5. Become a Better Learner

        When you learn a new language, your brain automatically finds a way to learn more efficiently. Whether you want to learn multiple languages or simply gain more skills, mastering a foreign language can help kick your brain into gear to adapt to learning new knowledge and information.

        6. Enjoy a Cultured and Varied Lifestyle

        Speaking in a foreign language gives you the opportunity to appreciate works of art in their original language. You don’t need to rely on translated films and books, or badly English dubbed TV shows. You can savour the beauty of the original message; whether it’s manga, Bollywood films or Swedish rap, you can capture it in it’s finest form.

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        7. Boost Confidence

        Overcome your fears and doubts, learn from your mistakes, find out more about yourself, and challenge yourself. Learning a foreign language can be incredibly rewarding and can do wonders to your courage and determination. Practicing this language is a great way to get over your insecurities, and find it easier to talk to other people.

        Want to learn a new language effectively? Don’t miss these tips:

        Featured photo credit: Paul Hanaoka via unsplash.com

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        Jess Melia

        Jess is a passionate writer and journalist. She shares about motivational and learning tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on February 11, 2021

        Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

        Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

        How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

        Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

        The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

        Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

        Perceptual Barrier

        The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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        The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

        The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

        Attitudinal Barrier

        Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

        The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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        The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

        Language Barrier

        This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

        The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

        The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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        Emotional Barrier

        Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

        The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

        The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

        Cultural Barrier

        Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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        The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

        The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

        Gender Barrier

        Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

        The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

        The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

        And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

        Reference

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