We all know that learning a second language is...helpful. Isn't it?
It is, in fact it's a very good idea at almost any age. But...why? We know daily exercise is helpful for numerous reasons; it reduces body fat, improves heart health, etc.
What, though, are some of the concrete benefits to learning a second language? We're going to list what we think are the top 3.
Reason #1: Improved brain function, at all ages
Over the past few decades, research on bilingualism and cognition has fortunately been a popular pursuit. And the results are fantastic. Study after study has shown cognitive benefits to learning a second language. Research has shown that young dual-language students have higher test scores and are also happier than their single-language counterparts. In adulthood, bilingual employees frequently earn more. And as we age, the benefits continue. For example, in a Canadian study of Alzheimer's patients, those patients who were bilingual had five to seven years better brain function than the monolingual patients.
These are just a few examples; we could write pages, books even, on the cognitive benefits that have been discovered relating to bilingualism. Suffice to say – you certainly won't lower your IQ by learning another language!
Reason #2: Gain new perspective
If you grew up in a small town, you've probably heard someone say "that's how things have always been here and that's the way it should be!"....while you roll your eyes (or worse). We all seek to broaden our horizons, and learning another language is an excellent way to do that. Learning another language opens a window into other cultures. It forces us, in a way, to communicate within a framework different from our own. And this makes us more cognizant of how other people choose to live, their values, their way of life.
Reason #3: Travel and meeting new people
No matter where the world you live, you have neighbors, friends, and coworkers who speak another language. Speak their native language, and you'll instantly have a new friend! We all love to travel, and although we may not get to as much as we'd like, one of the most rewarding benefits to speaking a second language is when you finally get to use it on your travels. When you speak the local language, you're no longer seen as "just another tourist". You'll be able to walk into a coffee shop or pub and chat with a local and really get to know a bit about them, their country, their culture. This is a rewarding experience we really hope everyone is able to experience!
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