8 Compelling Reasons to Learn a Foreign Language

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There are so many reasons to learn a foreign language and zero reasons not to acquire this useful skill. Discover eight reasons experts say learning a new language is beneficial.

8 Reasons to Learn a Foreign Language from Experts

This giveaway is brought to you in partnership with Rosetta Stone.

1. Gain a better understanding of other cultures.

Language is the key to truly understanding another culture. Language Magazine says, “A particular language points to the culture of a particular social group. Learning a language, therefore, is not only learning the alphabet, the meaning, the grammar rules and the arrangement of words, but it is also learning the behavior of the society and its cultural customs.”

Language gives understanding and context to cultural traditions and norms

Language gives understanding and context to cultural traditions and norms (Photo credit: poissonenciel, Depositphotos.com)

2. Prevent or slow Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia.

According to Alzheimers.net, “speaking two languages requires a specific type of brain training and switching between two languages requires a specific type of attention. That part of the brain, if exercised, may be what delays certain types of dementia.” Now, that's a good reason to give the gift of language to someone you love!

Learning a foreign language helps prevent or delay dementia

Learning a foreign language helps prevent or delay dementia (Photo credit: creatista, Depositphotos.com)

3. Language skills can boost your career.

Language skills can open doors for workers. WorkItDaily says, “For companies that regularly deal with international clients, bilingualism is an extremely attractive trait in a candidate. They like having an employee on hand who can engage clients with relative ease. Bilingualism also appeals to companies interested in entering new markets, which is becoming increasingly common in this age of start-ups. Simply put, speaking a second language can help your resume stand out in a sea of qualified applicants.”

While residents of many countries speak multiple languages, most Americans do not. In this article published on JournalismAtWMU.com, the author says, “other countries are becoming multilingual and the U.S. is falling behind leaving American students linguistically illiterate and culturally incompetent.” Don't be left behind!

Speaking a foreign language can increase business opportunities

Speaking a foreign language can increase business opportunities (Photo credit: Rawpixel, Depositphotos.com)

4. Speaking a foreign language improves emotional intelligence.

It's not just raw IQ that determines success. Equally important is emotional intelligence, the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically. According to two recent studies, it appears that multilingual speakers demonstrate increased empathy. This story by the SundayReview states, “Multilingual exposure, it seems, facilitates the basic skills of interpersonal understanding.”

Increase empathy by learning a new language

Increase empathy by learning a new language (Photo credit: apid, Depositphotos.com)

5. Discover a new side of your personality.

This article by Quartz Media explains something I thought was unique to me. When speaking another language, a different side of your personality may emerge. As an American foreign exchange student living in France, some friends teased me that I had a totally different personality when I spoke French than when I spoke English. I was more reserved, quieter and I even spoke in a higher voice in French. Turns out, I was revealing my French side. The author says, “When you learn a new language, you’re not just memorizing vocabulary and grammar rules—you also have a chance to tap into new parts of your identity.”

Rosetta Stone helped me feel more confident speaking French in my former college town of Montpellier, France

Rosetta Stone helped me feel more confident speaking French in my former college town of Montpellier, France (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

6. Improve understanding of your native language.

When I tell people that I was a French major, I am often met with giggles and sarcastic comments like, “What a useful subject! How's that working out for you?” Very well, merci beaucoup. I use my French skills every day, in a way. As a blogger, I write for a living. Reading, writing and speaking French has given me a better understanding of my native tongue, English. I bet I understand the root meanings of words and structure of sentences better than most people who have not learned another language.

The Telegraph says, “Learning a foreign language draws your focus to the mechanics of language: grammar, conjugations, and sentence structure. This makes you more aware of language, and the ways it can be structured and manipulated. These skills can make you a more effective communicator and a sharper editor and writer.” So there!

Learning a new language makes it easier to meet and communicate with people when traveling

Learning a new language makes it easier to meet and communicate with people when traveling (Photo credit: bst2012, Depositphotos.com)

8. Make travel easier and more fun.

My favorite reason to learn a new language is to make travel easier and more fun! This study shows that vacationers actually tend to enjoy their trips more during the planning phase, than during the actual travel phase. What better way to enjoy and prepare for your trip than by learning some of your destination's language?! Having an understanding of the local language makes getting around and communicating easier and less stressful, too.

Plus, it's the polite thing to do. Locals always appreciate when travelers at least make an attempt to speak their language. This means you'll be more warmly welcomed at restaurants, stores and elsewhere at your destination. Plus, you just may strike up some fun conversations and make friends. Moments of true connection with others are the stories we tell back at home and remember long after the vacation has ended.

Rosetta Stone makes it easy to learn a new language

Rosetta Stone makes it easy to learn a new language (Photo credit: Rosetta Stone)

Enter to Win a Free Year-Long Subscription to Rosetta Stone

After reading these reasons to learn a foreign language, are you ready to get started? We are giving away subscriptions to the Rosetta Stone online language learning program to five winners. Choose from any of their 28 languages like Spanish, French, Italian, German and Mandarin. The intuitive system is easy to follow and fun to do.

Rosetta Stone giveaway ~ Reasons to learn a foreign language

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win! Entrants must be age 18+ and a resident of the U.S. or Canada. See additional terms and conditions here. Value is $131.88.
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Rosetta Stone helped me brush up on my French skills before a recent trip to Paris with my kids and now my whole family is using Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish before our month-long stay in Mexico this summer. Are we fans? Si! Read my full review of Rosetta Stone for families now!

Can you think of any other reasons to learn a foreign language? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Prizes will be provided by the giveaway sponsor, Rosetta Stone. I will receive monetary compensation related to this story.

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Michael Bratek says:

    I would love to learn Spanish, i hear so many people speak it and i want to too now.

  2. Sher Kurwa says:

    German or Spanish! Thank you!

  3. stephanie a mcglothlin says:

    I’d love to learn Spanish as I am about to become a nurse in Texas! Thank you for the opportunity!

  4. Ellen S. says:

    Spanish would be most useful.

  5. Julie Hawkins says:

    I would like to learn Italian.

  6. Amy Deeter says:

    I would love to learn more Spanish

  7. Stephanie Shipley says:

    I would love to learn Spanish!

  8. Trisha McKee says:

    I would love to learn Spanish.

  9. Buddy Garrett says:

    I would love to learn Spanish.

  10. I would like to re-learn Japanese

  11. Lauren U says:

    I really want to learn Spanish and Chinese.

  12. Susan Marina Brown Lane says:

    I would like to learn Spanish!

  13. Shannon says:

    I would like to learn Italian.

  14. Vikki Billings says:

    I would love to learn Italian or Spanish!

  15. I speak Spanish and French. I would like to learn Cantonese because it’s one of my ancestral languages.

  16. BRYAN E. says:

    I need to brush up on my Spanish !

  17. Philip Lawrence says:

    I would like to learn Spanish with it since that will become even more important to know within the USA.

  18. I would love Italian.

  19. Stephanie Grant says:

    I would love to learn German!

  20. Cassandra D says:

    I would like to learn French.

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