Learning a new language is exciting—even if it may feel intimidating at first. It’s a lot like putting yourself on a workout routine: you build strength by learning new verbs, and you build endurance through vocab repetition. The journey is long, but the payoff is big. And like any long journey, the most difficult part is taking the first step.
Having trouble diving into Spanish? Or motivating yourself to learn more than just the days of the week in Arabic? When you’re starting out, it’s important to stay focused on the long term benefits of language learning—of which there are many! Languages unlock so much more than an A in your Spanish class or a fun party trick. There’s a wealth of perks that you won’t want to miss out on. And don’t let the goal of fluency overwhelm you; with the right tools, you can start reaping the benefits of language learning on your first day of practice!
Here are nine reasons why you should embrace the challenge of learning a new language.
- Connect with more people
Choose a language—any language—and you’ve already added millions of potential new friends to your social circle. Languages unlock interactions that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Avid gamer? Connect with fellow players overseas. Open to finding love abroad? A new language and the power of the internet can make that happen.
The important aspect to remember in learning a new language is that you don’t need to travel to find friends who speak it. There are over 100 languages spoken in the state of Minnesota, and over 185 languages spoken in the city of Los Angeles!
Languages can spark meaningful conversations at home—especially at home. Connect with family members by speaking their native language, or forge a bond with the owners of your favorite local restaurant. Learning a new language expands your opportunity for worthwhile interactions and lasting relationships.
- Become a better problem solver
Learning a new language is a bit like picking up an incomplete puzzle: You know what the picture is supposed to look like, but you’re missing some of the pieces… How do you put it all together? Solving that is the biggest challenge—and also one of the biggest benefits! Learning a language requires you to solve problems on the fly.
Let’s look at a common problem beginner speakers have: a limited vocabulary. Knowing the word for “house” in your native language is easy; describing the house in Dutch as “a building where people live” is more difficult. But with the basics under your belt, you’d definitely be able to convey meaning without having the “right” word! It might just take a bit more searching. When learning a new language, every conversation you have is an opportunity to flex your brain power.
- Gain confidence
After a real-world interaction like the one above, you’d probably feel pretty good about yourself! Learning a new language is no small feat. The natural milestones of learning a new language act as built-in accomplishments that you can take pride in daily. If you’re looking to boost your self-confidence, skill building through language learning provides easy and immediate results.
Language learning is also an inherently social activity. You’ll want to talk to new people to practice and flex your skills, and you’re likely to feel happier in the process! Being able to express yourself to a wide variety of people—and being understood—is a natural confidence booster. We all want the opportunity to be heard and to connect with other people.
- Improve your test scores
Your high school Spanish teacher wasn’t lying—learning a new language really does improve your test scores! Research shows that students who have taken foreign language classes in high school score “significantly higher on the verbal portion of the SAT than those who do not.” And that research held up for students across all socioeconomic backgrounds.
It makes sense that a confident language learner can expect to perform better on standardized tests, which require the same problem solving skills involved in learning a new language. They also require students to lean on inference when extracting meaning from words or passages they may not understand.
- Get ahead in your professional career
Yes, it pays to be multilingual in the business world. You’re probably picturing a career framed by international flights, glitzy office buildings, and a booming tech industry. But the truth is that learning a new language is a benefit to every worker, no matter the industry they’re in.
Whether you work in entertainment, hospitality, or contracting, you can use your language skills to build deeper connections with customers or coworkers and solve problems faster—two primary qualities that are important for any leadership role. Interested in taking that position in Dubai? Language can also open doors for career opportunities around the world and help to make your move more seamless.
- Understand cultural differences
If language is the gateway to culture, it also acts as the gateway to a more culturally sensitive world. Engaging in conversation with native speakers reveals the underlying nuances of physical body language, as well as certain responses or reactions. The world thrives on diversity, and language can deepen our understanding of the cultural elements that make each person unique.
The process of learning a language is also a humbling experience—perhaps it can help you better empathize with non-native speakers of our own language. You may deepen your connection with your Persian grandmother who struggles with English, or offer a helping hand to your coworker who recently moved from Beijing.
Understanding cultural differences can also help you dive into art with a fresh and more nuanced perspective. From TV and movies to music and classic novels, there is a vast world of art, history, and commentary to appreciate that might otherwise be lost in translation.
- Make travel smoother and more meaningful
You don’t always have to reach fluency to benefit from studying a new language. Many people learn the basics of a new language for logistical reasons: they don’t want to get lost. If you’re planning on travelling to a foreign country, you may find it helpful to learn the local language to make your trip smoother. From negotiating cab rides to locating your hotel, knowing the basics can save you significant time and put your mind at ease.
Even the basics of a language can make an international trip more meaningful for many of the reasons we’ve shared above—connection, understanding, and friendship. You could just as easily see the Parthenon from the comfort of your living room. Our guess is that you’d like to experience the Parthenon, which includes meeting and learning from the people who live alongside it.
Language makes those connections, and that experience, possible. Making lasting memories and friendships is just a couple verb tenses away.
- And finally… learning from home has never been easier
Rosetta Stone makes language learning easy by immersing you in the language and helping you build fluency quickly. With over 25 languages to choose from, it’s not only an effective standalone platform that you can use without a teacher or textbook, but also a great supplement to classroom learning.
And it’s accessible from your phone so you can learn on the go!
There are so many more reasons to be excited about learning a new language than there are to be intimidated by the process. From boosting your brain power to building meaningful connections with new friends, everyone can find a reason to dive into their first language lesson—including you. Take the leap!