10 Life-Changing Benefits of Learning a Second Language

learning a second language

More than half the world’s population is bilingual, yet less than 20% of Americans are fluent in another language.

From improving your memory to widening your social circle, there are many advantages to learning a second language.

Here are ten reasons that’ll persuade you to sign up to that evening class or extra credit language course you’ve had your eye on.

10 Reasons Learning a Second Language Benefits You

Learning a new language takes time and regular effort, but the payoff is worth it. Here’s why:

1. It Boosts Your Overall Brain Power

Our brains never stop developing – even as adults we can improve our learning capacity. Taking on a new skill requires several different brain tasks, from concentration and focus to improved listening and vocabulary building.

Each time you challenge your brain, you’re building on your ability to do a wide range of different tasks. Learning a new language will help your brain to operate efficiently in other areas of your life.

2. Your Listening Skills Will Improve

You need to pay attention to learn a new language! Your listening skills will improve as you take the time to focus on what you can hear.

You may find that as you gain confidence in your second language it becomes easier to hear speech in loud surroundings. A study revealed that bilingual people were able to determine a particular sound – “da” – more easily in a loud situation than monolinguists.

3. You Career Prospects Broaden

Speaking another language is great for your resume. Whether that means you’ll be able to take a job in another country, or get a promotion to work with international clients, there are many reasons employers like a bilingual staff.

Speaking more than one language shows that you are able to multi-task, have an interest in clear communication and that you’re self-motivated, too.

4. You Can Connect With More People

Learning a new language immediately opens up the possibilities for better communication with other people.

Many people learn English as a second language, so it’s a pleasant surprise when someone can talk to them in their native language instead.

5. It Improves Your Memory

Taking on a second language has been proven to boost your memory and recall abilities. So, not only will you be able to communicate with more people, other areas of your life will improve too.

You can even delay the onset of dementia by as much as five years, just by becoming bilingual.

6. International Travel Won’t Be Scary Anymore

There is nothing worse than wanting to travel the world but being held back because you’re afraid you won’t be able to connect with the locals. You might be scared of getting lost on the public transport, or not being able to find your way around a busy city.

A second language will give you the confidence to go to the countries you’ve always dreamed of – and many more, too. Many languages are spoken in multiple countries, often as second national languages, so your new skills will take you around the world with ease.

This article, for example, teaches you some simple phrases to make it easy to get around French-speaking countries. Simple phrases are the best way to start, so check it out!

7. It’s Easier to Learn a Third Language

Understanding the building blocks of one language makes it much easier to take on a third, fourth, or even fifth language. Have you ever envied someone who can speak several languages, and wondered how they do it?

Many languages share similar grammatical rules and root words. The Romance languages, for example, have many Latin-based words. That’s why it’s easy to learn several languages, as the vocabulary and rules are very similar.

8. Your Ability to Multi-Task will Rocket

Studies have shown that becoming fluent in a second language will significantly boost your ability to multi-task in all areas of your life.

This is because you’re challenging your brain to take on new things, such as vocabulary – but also to determine which vocabulary (and language) is appropriate in a situation.

This forces a new way of thinking that your monolingual brain didn’t have to do. You’re creating new neurological pathways that improve your adaptability and ability to assess several things at once.

9. You’ll Gain Social Confidence

There is nothing scarier than the first conversation you have with someone in your new second language – especially if that person is a native speaker. This challenge gets easier with every conversation, and builds your confidence.

Learning a language means you have to engage with other people at some point – so if you’re not socially confident even in your native language, it’s a great skill to practice. You’ll be able to start conversations far more easily, and be happier to go into new social situations than ever before.

10. Your Native Language Skills Will Improve

We often take our native language for granted. Sure, we’re taught at school the rules of grammar – which we then break with all of our colloquialisms and idioms.

Taking on the challenge of a second language will help you to understand how your mother tongue works, too. This will improve your written and conversation skills, which can help you gain confidence and boost your career further, too.

One Very Important Reason to Learn Another Language

There is one final, bonus, and really important reason to learn a second language: it’s an investment in yourself.

We’re often so driven to please other people, impress our boss, or keep up with family demands, that we don’t take time out for ourselves.

Booking a language class, or setting aside some time each week for an online course, dedicates time to your own needs. Even if you don’t think you have the time, choose something bitesize like the free Duolingo app to start your path to self-improvement.

You’ll feel happier and more relaxed as you build on your skills, and the focus you need to learn will help you to put the distractions of your day into perspective.

More Ways to Improve Your Self-Development

Learning a second language is just one way to improve your prospects and build your self-confidence. There are many more self-development strategies that could boost your wellbeing.

Check out these top five activities to start your way on a path to self-improvement.