Parlez-vous français? No… Just English…? What a shame. There are so many financial, health, and life benefits regarding learning a second or even third language. The real benefits and thrill of learning a language come when you’re a proficient user, confident to deal with day to day situations, not just the ability to say bonjour or hola. The 26th September 2017 was European Languages day, since 2001 European Day of Languages has been celebrated, and appears to grow with support each year. With over 7,000 languages in the world today, you can benefit from learning just one.
Here are just a few of the financial, health and life benefits to learning a language:
- Clearly, your work prospects will become wider. Your CV will be more attractive to employers, especially international ones.
- Your life experience will be heightened. You’ll learn about a new culture and way of life.
- Your mental intelligence will be increased. There is a huge amount of evidence from research on this topic, to suggest that individuals who can speak a second language perform better mentally. This is down to the need to switch between languages, the brain is challenged leading to an increase in intellect.
- Mental health, following on from point three medical research has shown those who are mentally challenged, and obtain proficiency in a foreign language are said to be less likely to suffer from illnesses such as Dementia or This is compared to those who only speak their mother tongue.
- Travel and leisure is also a massive benefit. With your second language, you could work overseas, live abroad, or immigrate more stress-free into a new society.
- Find part-time paid work to earn extra money as a translator, online tutor or teacher.
- Improving your first language is also a key. Mastering another and learning, you a naturally compare it to the grammar rules of your own first language.
- The ability to multi-task is increased. You can bounce between languages so you can bounce between tasks better!
- A chance to raise bilingual You could pass your knowledge on to them.
- It’s so much fun and a great way to make new friends on and offline, at classes or even via penpals. CTM recently highlighted how penpals can help to improve your proficiency in languages; both new and first languages in the article published in the last issue Letter Writing: The Writer’s Lost Art and Key to Improving Writing Skills.
Learning languages does not have to be as much hard work as you think it may be. You could also fit it around work and the family if you’re a mature learner. Here are some top ways to study.
- Classes at your local adult college. Evening classes can be good. There are some very inexpensive ones also. If you live in London near a tube line, Morley College on the Bakerloo and Northern lines is a great place to check out. Reasonable prices.
- Distance learning at your own pace. Oxford Open Learning offers the chance to study at GCSE and advanced A-level. They are also very reasonable, and of course, you’ll have an exam which is a real chance to feel proud once you ace it. This is, in fact, a method tried and tested, after a few years of evening classes and highly recommend.
- Free applications like A great resource that is free and will really progress you.
As you can see, as a mature learner there are options and different ways to study, don’t let family or work be an excuse. Learning a language is a truly thrilling experience. There are different levels of proficiency, so if you have previous knowledge from school learning start at a level suitable for you, so you have a mental challenge. If you’re not sure of your level do a quick proficiency test to see where you’re at and start at a level of learning right for you.
Also check the Common Framework For References Of Language Users Self-Assessment chart, to have an idea of your level of speaking, reading and writing level. Travel is also another tip. Visit the country that speaks the language you wish to learn, talk to locals, order your food and drink in your second language, and above all don’t be shy. The effort will be appreciated by the native speakers–regardless of your mistakes.
So, what are you waiting for? With financial, health and life benefits, earning potential increased, and a lot of fun on offer… pick a language and country you’re interested in, download your Duolingo app and start to learn, while soaking up the culture. You won’t regret it. As soon as you’re able to hold a conversation, read and understand your target language, you’ll never want to stop until you’re fluent. That’s a promise bonne chance!… That’s French for good luck by the way.
For more interesting articles on the benefits of language learning see the lost art of letter writing.