There are many wonderful and varied reasons to learn a new language, whether it's practical, professional or personal. In fact, more than half of the world’s population are now bilingual. Whether you’re a complete beginner at language learning, or a skilled trilinguist looking for your fourth language, there are many ways to learn a language with International House either near to your home or by studying abroad. It can be tough, but the journey is rewarding and it doesn’t take long until you can start reaping the benefits of picking up a new language.
Perhaps you learnt a language as a kid in school and didn’t fully appreciate the new skill you could potentially wield later in life. Despite what many people think, it is never too late to learn a language! Many people in their 20s and 30s learn for their careers, and further down the line, people in their 50s and 60s pick up a new language purely for pleasure. In any case, it’s a great way to challenge yourself even if you have no particular reason to learn. It’s accessible, sociable, and can lead to a discovery of a whole new culture or country that you may end up exploring!
Valuable cultural exchange
Have you ever entered a supermarket in another country, not been able to read the labels on various items, handed over a note worth 10 times what your shop came to, before mumbling “gracias” or “merci” on your way out? It’s a fairly common situation for many holidaymakers and travellers, but a simple beginners course in a language can bring you up to speed on many of the basics, from ordering in restaurants, to asking directions, to knowing whether a bottle of water is still or sparkling. A little language learning can go a long way, and can lead to some valuable cultural exchange which will be appreciated by native speakers.
Become a polyglot
Science backs up the theory that once you have learnt a second language, the process of learning a third is then easier. This is especially true if the two languages are similar in their sentence structures and lexicon, e.g. Polish and Russian, or Spanish and Portuguese. But if you are moving on to grasping your third, fourth, or even fifth language, then you are approaching the learning process with experience and an efficient, finely tuned study method. Find out more about this here.
Learning a language is like eating chocolate… sort of
Studies have shown that the part of the brain – the ventral striatum, if you want to get technical – that produces dopamine (aka neurotransmitted happiness) is activated when you eat chocolate, and also when you learn the meaning of new words in another language! Successful language learning can boost the levels of dopamine in your brain, leading to a better mood, and will help to motivate you to continue your studies due to the brain’s pleasure centre seeing that the behaviour of learning a new language leads to reward.
Shake off the shame of being wrong
It can be tough for anyone learning a new language to get used to potentially getting something wrong in every other sentence, but practise makes (almost) perfect, and the best way to learn a language is to actually use it! Pouring over textbooks and hoping that information will assimilate and you will suddenly be fluent is unfortunately not often what happens, although all aspects of language learning are important. It would never even cross your mind to laugh at a stranger struggling to ask for directions in your native language – in fact, you’d be impressed at their courage, so always bear this in mind. If you’re still sceptical about conquering your fears, watch this TEDx talk from Benny Lewis about ‘speaking from day one’.
Want more? Find out 5 more reasons why you should learn a language!
Check out where you can learn a language with an International House World Organisation school – either near you or abroad. We offer many language courses for all types of learners across our network of 160 language schools, including English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, Russian, Portuguese, Mandarin, Arabic.
Please see here for a list of languages you can learn overseas.
Please visit this link for an extensive list of languages taught by our community schools.