With international travel common, and citizens of different countries routinely migrating to new places, knowing more than one language is becoming a necessity. Business relationships require being fluent in another language and, in many parts of the U.S., job applicants must be bi-lingual. But, are employment requirements the only reason for learning other languages? There are strong arguments that getting a job is far from the best reason for learning another language. There are five other great reasons to learn another language.
1. Keep Your Mind Active.
Minds, like other parts of the body, require exercise to function at peak levels. Even when daily challenges require careful thought, the mind needs a variety of challenges to stay sharp. Learning another language activates portions of the brain not always used during other activities.
2. Improve Communications When Traveling.
Well-rounded travel experiences require communicating with local residents. While moving from place to place with a tour group allows visitors to see area attractions, communicating with locals adds an entirely different dimension to a traveler’s experiences. Knowing the language makes it easy to mingle with people away from established tours.
3. Explore Different Cultures.
Even when travel abroad is out of the question, learning another language allows individuals to explore other cultures. English language books, for example, rarely allow readers to learn about people from diverse cultures. Being able to read another language opens an entirely different realm of discovery. Reading Russian, for example, makes it easier to grasp the experiences of those living in areas where that language is spoken.
4. Expand Learning Opportunities.
Anyone, but especially younger people, consider the advantages of studying abroad, but are stymied by a lack of language skills. Learning another language makes it feasible to study in different countries and take advantage of unique learning opportunities. As an example, students of art history can improve their knowledge by studying in France or Italy, but to do so, they must know the language.
5. Meet Exciting People.
Expand a circle of friends by learning new languages. Vibrant communities include people from around the world, and they are not all fluent English language speakers. Learning the languages of local immigrant groups opens the door to new friendships.
On a practical level, people typically learn another language for employment reasons. However, other reasons to learn a new language are often far more important for personal growth. Which reason is most important to you?