Alright let’s get this out of the way: yes, I’m totally (about to be) one of those nerdy language teachers that loves what she does & thinks everyone should love Spanish just as much as I do. (Ugh, annoying, I know.)
However, I think you’ll agree with me that learning another language is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And, honestly, it doesn’t take that much effort. (Okay…maybe that’s a little bit of a lie, BUT IT’S WORTH IT, I SWEAR!)
Also, I’d like to say that what you’re about to read is kind-of the speech I may have rehearsed for my first day of teaching when I’m standing in front of my students, telling them why it’s so important they’re here in my classroom. Oops. Sneak peak.
1. Being bilingual positively changes the way your brain works.
Yes, you read that right. It does! For example, take this article written by Miguel Angel Muñoz: he explains recent research about this exact topic. He says that being bilingual, because you can switch between two languages at once, makes you better at multitasking. And not just multitasking with two languages, but multitasking with literally anything.
He also says that being bilingual can delay the onsets of dementia and Alzheimer’s in older people. Honestly, guys, how cool is that? You’re exercising new parts of your brain & just your brain in general more than normal, and that has positive impacts on you.
Of course, nothing in life is perfect and there are minor downfalls to knowing more than one language, like having weaker verbal skills in both languages. However, although it may be true, I believe that’s something that can be worked on & fixed.
If you want to read more about this, you can access his article (that also links to a complete live-stream seminar on this information) here or just google it! There’s tons of articles out there about bilingualism.
2. An entirely new world is opened up to you.
When you put yourself into a new language and culture and begin to understand it, doors open up everywhere. Suddenly, you can understand those telenovelas or you might have the urge to visit France, because now you can have a conversation in French. Reading books in your new language becomes a feasible idea and you may now have an interest in eating trying out authentic Chinese food.
So many things that you never new existed are now available to you. When learning a new language, you also learn the culture and that is invaluable.
3. More job opportunities are suddenly available to you.
People, this is the thing I love most about knowing Spanish. Not only do I have the opportunity to teach it one day, I also have a slew of other options up my sleeve. I could work in public relations with Spanish-speaking countries (which, everyone, there are a lot of). I could be a translator for a hospital or a courtroom or honestly anywhere. I could even go to another Spanish-speaking country and teach English there.
Or have you ever thought about who writes the half-English-half-Spanish scripts for Jane the Virgin? It could be you!
4. You can connect with & understand more people.
Have you ever walked past people who are speaking another language and wondered if they’re saying something about you? Say no more! In just a short year or two, you could be walking past those people again and know exactly what they’re saying!
On a more serious note, though, I know we’ve all wanted to be the person who can understand what someone else is saying about them & come at them with a witty comeback in the language they’re speaking.
Beyond this, your world completely opens up to meeting new people. Some of the most interesting people I’ve met have spoken another language & I would’ve never heard it if I didn’t know the language. You never know who you’ll meet or what kind of stories you’ll unearth.
5. It’s easier for you to learn a third language.
If I wanted to learn French as my third language, I would have an easier time doing so than those who only know one other language. This is because my bilingualism has given me better linguistic skills (and I didn’t even have to do any extra work! yes!) For example, I could more easily recognize patterns in the French language because some of them are closely related to the Spanish language.
According to this article the linguistic skills you’ll gain could be things like; “ability to learn new words easily, spotting rhymes and other associations between words, ability to use possessed information in new ways”, etc…
In conclusion, why wouldn’t you give a semester of Spanish or Italian a try?!
Personally, I’ve had the opportunity to study abroad (twice) and I even had a paying job that required me to speak Spanish (and I’m not even graduated yet!) Step outside of your comfort zone, because you never know what you’ll find when you get there.
What fun experiences have you guys had because of knowing another language? Comment down below,