Studying another language takes a lot of time and effort, but there are a lot of rewards for it. I personally believe that learning English was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. English is a mandatory subject for high school students in Japan, but I decided to continue working on it after graduation. It was a long journey, but I don’t regret it one bit. You don’t have to spend a lot of time to get benefits of studying another language. Below are 5 benefits of studying another language.
Learning Languages Will Make You Smarter
Learning another language has several aspects to it. On top of memorizing hundreds of words, you need to understand grammar and properly apply those words whenever necessary. That is a lot of work for brains and certainly makes them more active. This whole process will make you smarter and possibly delay aging effects. According to Neurology magazine, bilinguals experience dementia later in their lives compared to monolingual adults.
Learning Languages Will Make You More Confident
Another important part of learning a new language is to communicate with people. Interacting with people can be hard even without any language barrier, so connecting with people in a new language is a completely different experience. I still remember the first time I talked to someone in English. It was in one of the English classes, and I was given a chance to talk to a new teacher from Australia. By that time, I had learned several phrases, but I was so nervous that I freaked out and couldn’t remember anything. Granted, it didn’t go well, however, it was a great experience, and since then I have improved a lot. Now, I have no problem keeping a conversation going in English with anyone. Interestingly enough, now I feel a lot more confident speaking to Japanese people as well. Now that I am capable of communicating with people in the US, communicating in my native tongueis a piece of cake.
Learning Languages Will Help You Learn Other Cultures
You can’t learn a language without learning about the culture. For example, in Japanese, there are two different types of speech – one is a normal way, and another one is a respectful form. Each form uses different words, and this is often challenging to students. You have to use the honorific speech to someone older than you. One of my closest friends is 3 years older than me, and I always talk to him with the respectful speech. This is considerably different from how people in the US talk. People I met in the US call each other by their first names, and no one really cares if you are a few years older or younger.
Learning Languages Will Make You Realize How People Are All The Same
This might sound contradictory after I mentioned about the differences in cultures. Yes, there are a lot of differences in cultures. However, deep down, what everyone really thinks and wants seems the same.
I mentioned how Japanese has the respectful form and we use it to talk to someone older. There is no explicit equivalent in English, but people would talk differently to different people. The tone of your email to your professor asking for an extension is most likely different from a text message you send to your friend to reschedule a lunch. You probably don’t talk to your parents the same way you talk to your kids. Even though there’s no respectful form in English, people think who they are talking to and choose the most appropriate way to talk.
Learning Languages Will Help You Travel
Once you learn a language, you should travel to the country where it is spoken. It is definitely easier for you to go around if you speak the language. You don’t have to be fluent in it to travel abroad. If you can read alphabets, it is a huge plus. If you can ask for directions or order some food, that will make traveling easier and double the fun of traveling abroad.
If you are interested in learning a new language, but not sure which one to start with, you might want to pick one that is spoken in a lot of places, like Spanish or Chinese, so you will have more options for your future trip.
Learning a language can be hard sometimes, but it is totally worth the time and effort. You can meet a lot of people that you have never expected to meet, and it can be your long time hobby.