Do you speak two languages fluently?
If so, thumbs up! You’re among 20 percent of Americans (about 60 million people) who are bilingual. The vast majority of the American population is monolingual.
Whether you grew up speaking two languages because you’re a child of immigrants, lived in another country long enough to pick the native language or took classes to acquire another language, bilingualism is something to be proud of.
Beyond the pride, though, knowing two languages can add value to many aspects of your life.
Keep reading to learn the amazing benefits of being bilingual.
1. Gain an Educational Edge
Bilingualism has been shown to improve the cognitive function of the human brain. Cognitive functions are the processes that enable you to acquire knowledge, learn new skills, focus, and solve problems.
If you’re a student, this means you’ve got a strong chance of outperforming your peers who speak one language. In fact, one study established that students who’ve completed at least four years of foreign language study score 100 more points on each section of the SAT.
Also, being bilingual makes it easier for you to study abroad. If you speak both English and Spanish, for instance, you’ve got a greater incentive to pursue further education in Spain.
2. Improve Your Career Prospects
Even though the U.S. unemployment rate is low, the job market is getting more competitive. The best employers are not only looking for the most talented individuals but also people who have a versatile skill set.
Being bilingual is the skill that will enable you to stand out from the crowd and catch a potential employer’s eye. And the numbers don’t lie. 70 percent of employers expect the demand for multilingual workers to keep increasing through the next decade.
Even after you’ve been hired, your bilingualism will keep helping your career.
If your employer goes global and opens a business in a country where one of your languages is spoken, you’ll likely be the top choice to fly over and head the new unit. And when your boss is traveling abroad for business, they can take you along and leverage your bilingual skills instead of hiring a translator.
In short, being bilingual doesn’t just make an attractive candidate for employment. It also gives you the power to negotiate better salaries and boosts your job promotion prospects.
3. A Second Language Comes in Handy When You Travel
76 percent of Americans desire to travel more frequently.
No surprises here. We all want to explore the world and experience different cultures.
But if you’re like most travelers, there are destinations you shy away from because navigating the language barrier will be a big challenge. Learning a second language eliminates this barrier and opens up your range of travel destinations.
Let’s say you’re looking to learn Spanish as a second language. Attaining Spanish fluency will enhance your social and cultural interactions with Spanish speakers. It also means Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, Columbia, Panama, and the Dominican Republic will suddenly become attractive travel destinations.
Interested in gaining Spanish speaking skills? Be sure to discover more about common words and phrases before taking up intensive lessons.
4. Grow an Open Mind
Every day, you’ll meet different people and hear diverse opinions and ideas. An open mind is what you need to embrace the diversity around you and assimilate new knowledge.
However, becoming an open-minded is not an easy task and maintaining an open mind is even more difficult. Most humans are inherently bound to their own beliefs and ideas.
If having an open mind is one of your goals in life, learning a second language will give your efforts a major boost. No one puts it better than Charlemagne, the Former King of the Franks: “To have another language is to possess another soul.”
Rightly so, learning another language gives you’re the opportunity to learn and possibly immerse yourself in another culture. You’ll know the ways of life of the language’s native speakers, including their music, foods, theater, politics, design, and architecture. Gradually, you’ll appreciate their views and ideas.
So if you want an even broader mind, learn a third and even fourth language.
5. Improved Health
Die young or live forever: Which do you prefer?
Well, being bilingual won’t help you in either case, but it can improve your health, which is crucial for leading a longer and more fulfilling life. According to research, bilingualism can delay the onset of Dementia and other aging-related diseases by up to four years!
This circles back to the effective learning a second language has on your brain. It keeps your brain more active and enhances your thought process. An active brain is exactly what your body needs to slow down conditions such as memory loss!
Bilinguals also have a better ability to handle stressful situations and have quicker stroke recovery rates.
6. Raise Bilingual Kids
Now that you know the advantages of being bilingual, don’t you want to your kids to be bilingual too?
If you plan to raise bilingual kids, your bilingual status gives you a massive head start. Given that it’s far easier to acquire new languages during childhood than adulthood, your children will be in a better position to learn the languages you speak.
Learn a Second Language and Enjoy the Benefits of Being Bilingual
Say hello in English and goodbye in French. Read a Spanish novel and dance to a Greek tune. Such is the amazing life of bilinguals.
That bit aside, bilingualism will keep you in better health, boost your education and career prospects, and broaden your mind.
Don’t want to miss out on these benefits of being bilingual? It’s never too late to start learning a second language.
Stay tuned to our blog for more lifestyle insights.