Our insights after 28 years of teaching
They say the first step is always the hardest and that’s especially true for something like learning a language.
It’s always so rewarding to see our students take their (usually trepidatious) first steps in language learning, before falling in love with the whole process of discovering a foreign tongue.
From what we’ve learned in 28 years of teaching, these are the top ten reasons to love learning a language:
1. It gets you out of your comfort zone.
Going back to the basics of learning how to communicate, or even pushing yourself to go deeper into your current skill level with a language, can take you out of your comfort zone and be both invigorating and rewarding as you discover new abilities.
2. You’ll meet new people.
It goes without saying that a second language will help you meet new people when you’re travelling, but even before you step out of the classroom, you’ll be making new friends. When our students attend lessons in small tutorial groups, the shared sense of purpose and the empathy of understanding that everyone is in the same boat, at the same ability level, creates rich relationships.
3. You become more employable.
Being able to speak a second language opens up career opportunities. More and more businesses are trading abroad and asking for a foreign language as part of their job spec. Even for jobs without a specific requirement, being bilingual sets you apart from other candidates in a positive way.
4. You give your brain a boost.
According to research, 35% of respondents list “keeping mentally fit” as one of their three main reasons to learn a new language. Speaking two or more languages can improve your memory, increase your attention span and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Language classes are a fun way to exercise your brain on a weekly basis.
5. International travel is easier.
When students take their first trip abroad after starting language lessons, they often return with even more motivation when they realise how much easier travelling is when you understand what is being said or can read what is written. Even a relatively new learner can enjoy feeling less confused when they travel!
6. Conversations become richer.
You’ll often bump into friends or colleagues in this country who speak the same language you’re learning and the opportunity to converse more deeply with them is a great one. When you do venture abroad, the experience of being about to chat to locals will open up a world of cultural knowledge and richness you never knew existed.
7. Other areas of your life benefit.
Research shows that learning a second language makes you better at multitasking, better and making decisions and better at observing your surroundings. Learning a language often positively influences other areas of your daily life that you would never have expected.
8. It improves your English.
Learning a foreign language also improves the knowledge of your own language. Many students find their understanding of English grammar increases as they learn a second language. It helps you focus on the grammar, conjugations and sentence structure of language generally and makes you a better communicator in your own language too.
9. Your world expands.
Understanding and being able to communicate in another tongue opens the door to a whole new world of art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, film, philosophy and science that you wouldn’t otherwise have been able to access. Understanding another culture – both the people and the arts within it – is massively rewarding.
10. The joy of discovering you can
Learning a new language can be a daunting prospect; it can challenge you intellectually as you try to remember and understand new things; it can challenge your confidence as you find yourself as a beginner again and it can push the boundaries of your comfort zone as you place yourself in unfamiliar situations and challenge yourself to perform a new skill.
The biggest reason to love learning a new language? Discovering that you can.