1. Better employment prospects: It’s common knowledge that bilingual job applicants are more marketable. They earn more in salary and tend to be more upwardly-mobile when they land with an employer.
2. Thousands of dollars for retirement: Leave it to The Economist to figure out just how much of a difference a second language can make for retirement. For Spanish speakers: $51,000. German speakers? $128,000!
3. Improved use of your native language: When you study a foreign language, you also gain a general understanding of how languages work. This can help your writing and speaking skills in your native language.
4. Deeper travel experiences: Being able to communicate in the native language can make your travel experiences much richer than if you were just to rely on a few simple phrases and a guidebook. More of the nooks and crannies of a destination become available.
5. The second language is the hardest: Once you’ve learned a second language, it’s much easier to learn another, and another. Perhaps the brain has been rewired for language acquisition.
6. Cultural competency: When learning a language, you never just learn words and phrases—you learn about the customs and traditions of the target country.
7. Neurologic benefits: The science is pretty clear: multiple languages can have significant cognitive benefits. Not only are a person’s linguistic abilities improved, but those effects seem to cross over into the brain’s other pursuits.
8. Improved memory: Bilingualism has been shown to help people stave off the effects of memory loss and dementia as they age. When it comes to activating these benefits with language learning, the earlier the better.
9. A leg-up in higher education: Naturally, a second language makes a student more attractive for study abroad programs, but some Ph.D. programs have also adopted language preferences that reflect the needs of their graduates once they leave the program.
10. Deeper meaning: Some concepts just do not exist in the English language. Other times, English adopts the term found in a foreign language. Knowing different languages lets you express yourself more fully, or at least more efficiently.