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6 Reasons to Learn a Foreign Language

6 Reasons to Learn a Foreign Language

Every December, our Brunetti Language School sees an uptick in phone calls and emails from prospective language learners who want to learn or renew their studies of a foreign language. Why? Because the New Year is right around the corner, and that means one thing: Resolution.

Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Or do you roll your eyes at that “RE” word?

Consider for a minute words that begin with “re.”

RE-CREATE (or RECREATE, depending on your adventure style)

What if you chose one “RE” word as your anchor for 2018? What if you could fit foreign language study into that mission? There are lots of reasons to learn (or even REVIEW) a foreign language. Here are six of them to consider:

1. Improve your cognitive skills. Studies have shown that learning a new language boosts your brain power, improving memory and perhaps even delaying dementia. Making connections between languages through word origins and meanings can be exhilarating. For example, the word “milk” is strikingly similar across some languages (mælk in Danish, Milch in German, mjölk in Swedish). What word connections can you make through languages?
2. New ways of seeing the world. It’s practically impossible to learn another language without broadening your knowledge in other disciplines at the same time. Language studies give you unmatched insight into the culture and history of a place. Learning languages helps us understand how other cultures perceive happiness, manage stress, endure difficult situations. Geography, history, culture – the ties of language to other disciplines is practically infinite.
3. Tremendous potential for young minds. Research shows that the younger you are, the more thoroughly a foreign language will “sink in.” A child’s brain has a phenomenal ability to absorb new information. Therefore, mastering pronunciation, new sounds and vocabulary comes easier by and large to young learners. This is not to say that studying a foreign language is a lost cause if you are a senior citizen. The idea simply is: There is no time like the present to learn something new.
4. Expand educational, professional and social opportunities. Business executives consistently report failures to reach their international potential due to language barriers. In an ever-increasing global marketplace and a world with limitless opportunities to travel across borders, we all owe it to ourselves to appreciate the power and potential behind foreign language learning. Whether you’re ordering in Spanish at a Mexican restaurant in St. Louis, exploring a product’s viability in China or preparing to hike Europe’s Camino de Santiago, learning a foreign language is never a waste of time.
5. Enrich your travel experience. Anyone can book a flight to Cancún, spend a week at a luxury resort and speak English the entire time. To be sure, this is some people’s idea of a perfect vacation. But, if you have a streak of adventure or are willing to journey into new territory (French countryside, anyone?), learning the language will open doors you may not even know existed. Imagine meeting someone with an entirely different lifestyle than yours, and taking a conversation beyond ordering a hamburger or asking where the bathroom is. What’s more, showing some knowledge of the language of the country you’re visiting demonstrates respect for the people of that country. *
6. Foreign language skills boost job prospects. And finally, the job market is huge right now for people who speak more than one language. The New American Economy recently reported that demand for bilingual workers has doubled since 2010, in all career sectors and levels. Moreover, 44 states reported [a shortage of qualified K-12 language or bilingual teachers for the 2016-2017 school year]. The numbers are telling: knowing a second language, regardless of your career focus, is a feather in your hat.

The K-International Language Blog suggests the top 10 languages to learn in 2018.

The self-proclaimed “Irish Polyglot” Benny Lewis offers practical steps toward learning a new language. That process, for him, begins with kicking the word “resolution” to the curb and replacing it with “mission.” “The problem with a resolution is that it just envisions the end-goal and not the process,” he writes. “’Speak fluent German’ is a nice promise to make yourself, but it doesn’t actually mean anything unless you’ve defined exactly what fluency means to you and set yourself a timeframe to achieve it by.”

International Language Center offers the flexibility you need, with customized classes designed to fit your learning style, goals and schedule. Our new Language Quote Request form offers a number of questions to consider as you contemplate the best way to work toward your language learning goals. Check it out, and let us know how we can help make your goal – or mission – a reality.

Make 2018 the year to live your dream. And if you’re motivated, share your mission or your “RE” word for this New Year in the comments below. We want to hear from you!


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