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The benefits of learning a new language while studying abroad

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Boosts Brain Power

A foreign language is a whole new intricate system of rules, structures, and lexis. Learning a new language means your brain has to cope with complexity as it makes sense of and absorbs new patterns. As our brains work out the meaning, endeavoring to communicate, we develop key learning skills such as cognitive thinking and problem-solving. Highly developed critical thinking skills are a significant benefit both personally and professionally.

Enhances the ability to multi-task

Multi-tasking is very stressful for those who are not used to it or don’t do it well. According to a study from the Pennsylvania State University, people who are multilingual and proficient at slipping from one language system to another are practiced at this very demanding work for the brain. People who have developed the ability to think in different languages and move from one to the other become much better multi-task taker, reducing stress levels.

The first language is improved

Learning a new language makes you more conscious of the nuts and bolts of your own language. Terms such as vocabulary, grammar, conjugation, comprehension, idioms and sentence structure become everyday phrases, whereas your own language is probably absorbed more intuitively. Learning a new language also makes you a better listener as you are used to having to interpret meaning and judge nuances.

Improves performance in other academic areas

As a result of higher cognitive skills, studies show that the benefits of learning a new language include higher scores on standardized exams in math, reading comprehension and vocabulary by multilingual students compared to the scores of monolingual students. Children may ask why they have to learn this language, but parents and teachers know better! Language skills boost your ability to do well in problem-solving tasks across the board, a fact recognized through compulsory foreign language learning curriculum in schools.

Increases networking skills

Opening up to a culture allows you to be more flexible and appreciative of other people’s opinions and actions. As a result, if you are multilingual, you have the advantage of seeing the world from different viewpoints, enhancing your ability to communicate in today’s globally connected world.

It’s a major advantage in the workforce.

Adding a second (or third, or fourth) language to your CV gives you an unparalleled advantage in today’s global economy. More and more employers are looking for people who speak multiple languages. This is especially true for fields like customer service, hospitality, health care, information technology and administrative work.

Multilingual people can communicate and interact with diverse communities. This is a valuable asset in an employee’s skill set. You definitely up your professional value if you can negotiate with manufacturers in another country or communicate with customers who don’t speak your native language. Additionally, your ability to speak another language conveys that you’re motivated and driven to learn new skills.

It boosts your creativity.

Anyone learning a language has experienced moments of serious linguistic problem solving. You know what you want to say, but not in the language you’re currently speaking. You can’t move forward without the word, so you have to get creative. Using your second language requires you to learn how to give clues, context, explanations and/or gestures to get your point across. It improves your skills in divergent thinking, which is the ability to identify multiple solutions to a single problem. Because, on top of your limited language and mental roadblocks, you usually need to consider different linguistic and cultural nuances too. But all of this helps you think outside the box.

As a matter of fact, researchers are also concluding that multilingual speakers are more creative than monolingual speakers. This is likely because learning a foreign language gives you leeway to experiment with new words and phrases. Every time you stumble over words or phrasing, remember that you’re training your brain and developing skills that benefit every aspect of your life.

Improves memory

A new language requires not only familiarity with vocabulary and rules, but also being able to recall and apply this knowledge. Learning a language gives your memory a good work out in the brain gym. This means that multilingual people have brains that are more exercised and quick to recall names, directions, facts, and figures.

You gain cultural knowledge and perspective and language helps you understand the world.

Learning another language isn’t just about words and grammar. Knowledge of the society and culture behind that language is necessary to achieve any degree of fluency. The history and culture of a country are reflected in the language, and vice versa. It’s important to remember that languages aren’t simply different sets of words to express the same ideas, they’re entirely different outlooks on the world.

Linguistic relativity is the concept that language dramatically shapes the way we think, perceive and interact with the world around us. Most people who speak multiple languages will tell you there’s a profound spiritual and emotional element to it. Allow this to open you up to the world, broaden your horizons and bring you closer to people of all races and nationalities.

You may develop a deep appreciation for another culture, fall in love with a native speaker or become unlikely friends with someone totally different from you.