10 Reasons to Learn a Foreign Language

If English is the only language you speak fluently, perhaps you should consider using the winter months to learn a second language? You might think there’s no need if English is your home language since English is “universal”, but the truth is, having a second or even third language under your belt can help you in more ways than you think!

1. Improve Your Job Prospects

The most obvious reason for taking a language course is that fluency in a second language looks really good on your CV, which means that when you apply for a job, you are already a step ahead of your monolingual counterparts. There are also many opportunities in the UK for people who are fluent in English and another European language – do some research in your industry and see where the opportunities exist for you.

2. Increase Your Study Opportunities

Not only will fluency in another language make it possible for you to apply for bursaries and study in another country, you will also have a better chance of being accepted into a college or university in the UK if you are fluent in a second language.

3. Enjoy Foreign Travel More

If for instance you chose to learn Spanish, there would be at least 21 more places in the world where you wouldn’t need to page through a confusing little language book just to ask what time the train will be arriving (and in all likelihood end up politely telling the conductor that his mother is a man). The locals will be friendlier towards you and your chances of being ripped off decrease when you understand and speak the language… Order beer with confidence; direct your cab driver directly to your hotel; and the next time a local in a little café says something about your lack of a tan, you can confidently remind him – in his own language – that Michael Jackson paid millions of Dollars to get your skin tone.

4. Enhance Your Appreciation of Foreign Culture

Never again will you sit silently at the dinner table while your girlfriend’s parents discuss the intricacies of La Traviata. When you learn a second language, you will develop an understanding of the music, food, art and people of the country/ies whose language you master. Italian Opera; French Cuisine or Literature; Akido or Capoeira – whatever it is you’re interested in, you can delve much deeper if you are approaching the subject in the language though which it was created.

5. Take Your Business Abroad

Whatever your business, there might be an untapped market in another country that you haven’t even considered because it seems impossible. By first learning to speak, read and write the language like a native, you’re in a position to investigate your global options. Your Spanish Language Course might just be the start to your “half the year in London / half the year in Majorca” dream!

6. Increase Your Chances of l’ amour

If you’re still single and your cousin’s wife’s best friend’s weird brother is looking like your last hope, broaden your pool of prospects by learning the language of a country whose natives you find attractive. If the French make your knees weak – learn the language, take the holiday, converse with ease… the rest is history.

7. Understand the World Better

By learning another language, along with the country’s history, culture and traditions, you are not only improving your general knowledge, but also your understanding of another nation of people. This will no doubt lead to a more open minded approach to the world around you and you’ll start to enjoy more positive interactions with people from a cultural background different to your own.

8. Improve Your English

Learning a second language will teach you different methods of expressing ideas, concepts, or thoughts, which will actually improve your English communication skills and vocabulary too.  As you learn the new language, you will no doubt be brushing up on your English theory – the verbs, the pronouns, the conjunctive adverbs – you’ll be reminded about all of that.

9. Become Smarter

Learning another language exercises all sorts of cognitive skills and studies have shown that bilingual students achieve better divergent thinking, creativity, and cognitive development compared to monolingual students and that those who speak a second language do better on both nonverbal and verbal intelligence tests. Who doesn’t want to be more intelligent?

10. Be Sexier

There’s no doubt about it – people who speak a foreign language are considered more attractive and more intelligent by the opposite sex than those who only speak English. It’s impressive. It’s enviable. It’s dead sexy.

  • Bill Chapman

    A major problem is the sheer diversity of languages in Europe. Learn to speak Italian fluently and you’re lost in Bulgaria or the Czech Republic. Invest a lot of time in learning German, and you cannot read the road signs in rural Spain or Finland. I’m sure that it helps to learn a few phrases of the country you are visiting, but I would like to suggest a more radical solution – learn Esperanto.

    Esperanto is relatively easy to learn. It’s easy to use too, because there are networks of Esperanto speakers keen to help visitors who know the language.

  • http://www.esperanto.net Brian Barker

    In reply to Bill Chapman, can I reply that Esperanto is increasingly popular.

    The Esperanto online study course http://www.lernu.net is now receiving 120,000 hits per month. That can’t be bad :)

  • http://daleschultz.info Arcelia Granby

    Thank you so much, this was a good read. I was actually born in Spain ( not telling you when though!) but was moved around various parts of europe and finally settled in England when I was a teenager. I dont remember an awful lot of the few years I was in spain, but the delicious smell of spanish food always seems to get me going or something. It’s weird how I dont remember anything except the smells,isn’t it! I even found a whole website dedicated to spanish recipe, which gave me great delight and thought I really should to share with your readers. Anyway, thank you again. I’ll get my husband to add your website to my rss thing…

  • Nilsa Massoud

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  • https://www.facebook.com/ScribeOrigins Grahm

    It’s often a good idea to remember to consider overseas audiences as well. There are some audiences on facebook, such as the Japanese, with huge numbers of fans. Sure, there are problems where we don’t speak their audience’s native language. But think about this: just one once-a-week translation service could build an extra 50,000 followers. Wouldn’t that be worth it?