Learning a second language has benefits beyond the words.
If English is spoken all over the world, what’s the point of learning another language?
That’s something the executive director of Concordia Language Villages, Christine Schulze, knows a little something about. She has spent her 40-year career with the Language Villages, which has nearly 60 years of teaching language and cultural immersion in 15 different languages.
“Learning another language is one of the most rewarding things a person can do,” Schulze said. “One doesn’t have to become fluent to begin reaping the benefits. In fact, in an immersion environment, communicating in another language can come surprisingly quickly for young learners and adults alike. That’s the good news.”
But there are also other benefits to learning a new language. That’s where the Language Villages’ new campaign, “Why Learn Languages,” comes in. The campaign offers 117 reasons for learning one of the 14 non-English languages (Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish) offered at the Villages.
Concordia Language Villages is showcasing its “Why Learn Languages” campaign with posters, giveaways, a Twitter contest and more. The Language Villages was one of 250 organizations with a booth at the recent American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Annual Convention and World Languages Expo where 7,000 language educators gathered in Nashville.
Concordia Language Villages has also whittled its list down to a manageable number for the rest of us. Benefits of learning a second language include:
- Open more doors for yourself – by opening doors into other cultures and communities, fostering friendships and opportunities.
- Keep your brain revving in high gear – improving memory and attention by 20 percent and increasing math skills and test scores by 10 to 12.5 percent.
- Enhance your job prospects and earnings potential – today’s increasingly global marketplace sees an increase of 160 percent in the number of job postings seeking bilingual candidates who can earn up to 20 percent more.
- Travel with more confidence and derive greater personal benefit from those travels – the more you know, the more you can absorb.
- Better understand cultural contexts – acquiring language skills is more than just learning vocabulary and grammatical rules; it’s learning how to communicate with a solid grasp of cultural nuance and meaning.
- Connect directly with the branches on your family tree – connecting with family still living their original language and/or culture enables you to better understand your cultural or ethnic heritage.
- Better understand recent immigrants in your own community – learning their language or just appreciating that newcomers speak another language enhances your ability to relate and empathize with them.
- Become a better communicator – learning a second language compels you to listen better, pay closer attention and think more carefully about what say.
- Think more expansively about the world – learning another language takes you out of your comfort zone and helps you to stand in someone else’s shoes.
- Learn more about yourself – experiential opportunities are available to you as a result of having learned a second language and speaking another language allows your one life to have multiple paths.
Just one of these 10 reasons is enough to consider learning a new language.