Learning a second language is not a walk in the park. But if you decide to do it, the most amazing things will happen to you.
Language teachers have heard just about every possible excuse from students explaining why they’re not able to learn a language right now. Out of the dozens of reasons claimed by these students, none of them are legitimate reasons. Not one.
“I don’t have enough time…”
“I learned a language already but I forgot it…”
“It’s just not the right time for me right now…”
It’s likely that you have some of these excuses floating around in your head too. And so did many people who have since learned a new language successfully.
Learning a language is no different from making time to go to the gym. Making time to read a book. It’s all a matter of priorities and commitment. The obstacle is rarely about finding ways to learn a language, but about understanding why you should learn a language.
Not enough people are talking about the latter, but scientific research has revealed some amazing things that will happen when you learn a new language.
Today, we’ll share 7 amazing things that will happen when you learn a second language (or third, or fourth).
1. Make Decisions That You Used To Struggle Making
The first benefit has the potential to change the lives of many people reading this. Learning a language can help you make decisions faster and more effectively. According to a study done at the University of Chicago, learning a second language can help you eliminate loss aversion, which will allow you to make smarter decisions that will pay off long-term.
You will train in and develop a process for making fast decisions during your language speaking practice. You will be forced to make a decision about what a word or sentence means or about how to say a specific thing, and you will constantly be testing whether it makes sense. There’s no time to reflect when you’re having a live conversation with someone.
Not all of us were born to resist marshmallows when we were young, but we can always train our brains to be tougher. Learning a second language will help you do just that.
2. Expand Your Career Opportunities And Mindset On A Global Scale
The world is becoming a more global place by the second. Companies in your country are doing more business than ever across the world, and there’s a severe shortage of bilingual speakers. Even if you do not fluently speak a second language, having another language under your belt will immediately show others that you’re a globally-minded individual with cultural experiences that other candidates can’t offer.
The Economist calculated the bonus income one can make from knowing certain languages:
- Spanish — 1.5 percent bonus
- French — 2.3 percent bonus
- German — 3.8 percent bonus
If you want to get the full list, check out this post on the most useful languages to learn for your career.
3. Become A More Interesting Person For Others To Talk To
Learning a second language is not just about adding a language to your repertoire, but about encountering a completely new culture. Many people are fascinated when they learn about new cultures they’re not familiar with.
More importantly, becoming bilingual will help you connect and be more relatable to other people, especially if you speak a popular language like Spanish or Mandarin. Being fluent is not necessary to achieve this: even having basic conversational skills can do wonders for how people perceive you and for how much value you can add for others. Many of today’s problems come from miscommunication and from people’s feelings of disconnection from others. You’ll be surprised how much speaking someone’s language can unite you with them and allow you to hear what they have to say.
4. Experience Travel In A Completely New Way
Planning trips does not have to be limited to searching on TripAdvisor or simply asking people in your inner circle. There’s a whole different world available to you if you remove some language barriers. Just as you know your city better than any journalist would, local native speakers will be able to show you the hot spots within a city that you would have never discovered on your own. Speaking a second language will allow you to build relationships with locals who will give you an insider’s view of your destination.
More importantly, you’ll have a global network of friends who you can rely on wherever you are around the world.
5. Learn A Third, Fourth, Or Fifth Language With Ease
Once you learn a second language, learning a third, fourth, or fifth language will be much easier. Like building a business or achieving any goal, the process of learning a language can be replicated more easily after you’ve done it once. The first time around is usually the hardest.
“Every time I learn a new language, I find it easier than the one before. The reasoning is simple: with every new language I study, I figure out ways to learn more efficiently.” -Benny Lewis
With each language, your confidence improves, your resilience increases, and you develop learning hacks based on your previous language learning experiences.
6. Remember Things You Previously Couldn’t Remember
Scientists and researchers often refer to the brain as a muscle. Similarly to how we get our bodies in shape, we train our brains to remember new words and to think on the spot, and we connect new neurons in our minds.
With more training, your brain will naturally strengthen, just like a muscle. Small things that you would have previously forgotten will then become easier to remember.
7. Feel More Connected To Your Roots And Self
Something strange happens when you’re learning a language, something that rarely occurs in your daily life. With the culture that you discover from your second language, you begin to think about your own heritage. You will reflect more on where you come from, the history of your ancestors, and ultimately where you fit into this world.
Becoming bilingual makes you come to terms with how you view the world. It will enhance your appreciation of the world you live in, your own culture, and ultimately who you are as an individual.