This article is by Dan Needham from Europe Language Jobs
There are the obvious, everyday advantages to speaking a foreign language, such as impressing your friends, turning around a date that's going badly and one of the strongest senses of pride and achievement that you can have. It can also open many potential career doors, not only in terms of the range of jobs, but also the range of destinations to find a job abroad.
Become more employable
Learning a new language is a great way to make yourself stand out from the competition.
As the world becomes more and more globalized, the demand for language speakers from companies is on the increase as they expand operations into new markets. These companies therefore need language speakers to satisfy the demands of their clients across the world. It is much easier to build a relationship with somebody when you speak the same language as them. You can simply connect with them on a more personal level and break through communication barriers if you speak the same language.
There are financial gains to be enjoyed from learning a second language too. It’s even estimated that multilinguals earn 8% more than their monolingual counterparts.
Improve your skills
Learning a new language also demonstrates that you have a host of other skills. According to studies, multilinguals are better at problem solving, more creative and are better multitaskers. All of these skills are very attractive to any potential employer.
Language learning also helps to make you more tolerant – multilinguals are usually more open minded and accepting of change.
It can also help you learn other languages more easily. For many, the initial embarrassment barrier can really hold learners back from mastering a language. Getting through this barrier can help improve your confidence and help you go on to learn further languages. The confidence that you gain can also help to give you that boost to do things that you’ve never done before, such as moving abroad.
Another important reason to learn a language is that it makes you more attractive according to 71% of Americans and 64% of Brits.
Opportunities to travel
By learning a new language, you open up a whole new section of the world for you to comfortably explore. Remember, if you only speak English then you can only communicate with 20% of the world’s population. If, for example, you learn another widely spoken language like Spanish or French, you immediately open up a whole other percentage of the world’s population that you can interact with. Being able to travel with your language is a great way of meeting new people and creating ever-lasting friendships, or even finding love…
Possessing more than one language also opens up a world of entertainment – the ability to understand international art and literature can really help to appreciate the world around us.
Brain benefits of learning a language
Perhaps the most important benefit of learning a language is not the most well-known. According to studies in Sweden, learning a language causes areas of the brain associated with memory, namely the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, to increase in size. Like any muscle in the body, regularly exercising your brain can make it increase in size.
In later life degenerative diseases are feared by many. It is estimated however, that learning a new language can help fend off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by up to 5 years.
Learning a new language has never been easier. The amount of free online language learning tools is so varied and in-depth that you are running out of excuses to be a monolingual in this day and age. Why not check out which language you should learn?
Europe Language Jobs is an online job board for multilinguals looking to gain international experience abroad.