One of the most practical ways to make use of your spare time nowadays is to start learning a new skill.
People who always succeed are those who are keen to learn something new every day - be it learning about other cultures or learning a second language.
At Middlebury Language Schools, we are strong advocates for the importance of mastering a second language. Both personally and professionally, being bilingual can bring you several advantages.
In this article, we will break down some of the benefits of learning a second language and why this skill is one of the most overlooked skills in the world.
Why is it important to know more than one language
We live in a multilingual world, where connections are now more important than ever. The world is becoming increasingly globalized and knowing a second language can always give you an unfair advantage.
There are tangible benefits to being bilingual:
- It can help you in your career;
- It can improve your memory and brain functions;
- It can help increase your understanding of the languages you already speak.
A second language can drastically change your career. Living in an interconnected world means that more and more jobs are advertising positions where knowing more than one language is essential.
As more companies trade internationally and create relationships with other countries, employees are often asked to travel for work, enhance these relationships, or be relocated abroad.
Besides having more chances of landing a good job or advancing in your career, learning a second language can also give you an insight into other cultures. You will be more prepared and confident to travel the world and explore other people’s ways of living.
Lack of integration is a real problem for most countries. More often than not, this is due to the language barrier. People outside of their home countries end up being isolated, hanging out only with people from similar communities where their language is spoken.
Learning a second language opens up the opportunity for being part of a community with a different culture, and learning more about the world around us.
Did you know that being bilingual can also help you master your own language? For example, learning a new language with similar roots can help you learn other languages as well. Take Spanish, Italian, and French from one summer to the next!
What are the benefits of learning a second language
As mentioned before, learning a new language is a wonderful benefit in a globalized world. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of learning a second language.
1. It improves your memory
The more you use your brain to learn new skills, the more your brain’s functions work. Learning a new language pushes your brain to get familiar with new grammar and vocabulary rules. It allows you to train your memory to remember new words, make connections between them, and use them in contextual situations.
2. Enhances your ability to multitask
Time management and multitasking are two skills that will always help you. Multilingual people have the ability to switch between languages. Their ability to think in different languages and be able to communicate in more than one language helps with multitasking.
3. Improves your performance in other academic areas
Fully immersing yourself in a language learning environment means not only learning the basics of that language. It means learning how to communicate in another language with your peers or participating in extracurricular activities in that specific language.
What languages are the most useful to learn? Middlebury Language Schools recommends 3 of our 13 languages
Since 1915, Middlebury Language Schools has been one of the nation’s preeminent language learning programs.
Whether you’re a beginning language learner or working toward an advanced degree, our time-tested programs offer a range of options and opportunities.
Taking the Language Pledge at Middlebury Language Schools means committing to communicate only in the language of your choice for the duration of the program. You will live, play, and learn in a 24/7 environment.
We offer a wide range of languages you can choose from. Here are just a few of the languages we offer.
Due to many geopolitical reasons, the Russian language is not very closely related to English. It is a very challenging language to learn, with complex grammar and syntax rules. However, it is an extremely culturally and politically relevant language.
At the School of Russian, you can experience the most effective method for rapid language acquisition. An immersion environment is a promise that you will read, write, speak, and listen only in Russian throughout the duration of the program. Some of the benefits of learning Russian at Middlebury Language Schools include interpreting poetry, learning about the culture, and mastering the Russian etiquette.
Arabic has been one of our most popular languages. It is a high demand language because it can get you ahead in a government career, but also give you endless opportunities in business and international relations.
Arabic is spoken by more than 300 million people and is one of the top 5 most spoken languages in the world. Learning Arabic as a second language can help you learn about the Arabic culture and religion. It not only gives you opportunities to expand your connections, but also offers great travel opportunities.
A summer at the Arabic School will help you experience the immersive environment on campus. At Middlebury Language Schools, the focus is on Modern Standard Arabic, with optional Arabic language classes in dialects such as Egyptian, Syrian and Moroccan.
A lot of people agree that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn, due to the fact that you read words as they are written. Spanish is the most spoken language in the world after English and is used by more than 400 million people.
Spanish skills can be a strong asset for communicating and creating relationships not only in Spain, but also in Latin America.
At the Middlebury School of Spanish, you can engage your mind with topics of interest, from Spanish history to arts and cooking.
Reminders on why you should learn a second language now
We have broken down the benefits of learning a second language and becoming bilingual in a highly globalized world.
The truth is, learning new skills every day enhances all aspects of your life. By learning new skills, you can increase your career opportunities, find out more about the world around you, and be a better person overall.
We highly encourage you to start learning a new language as early in your life as possible. However, you are never too old to learn! The world moves fast, and we must keep up with the changes - by developing new skills, learning more about ourselves, and also, learning a new language!