The Benefits of Learning a Second Language
Have you ever had this thought, “What will look good on my college application?” Most students have. There is one thing that can influence a college’s or company’s decision for the better about accepting or hiring a person, and this is by learning a second language. As people from other countries continue to immigrate into America, it is becoming more important than ever to learn a second language, even simply to appear more marketable and have something to set an applicant apart from their competitors. One of these benefits includes how great it looks on applications for just about anything. Others include the convenience when traveling, making new friends, improving the fluency of the speaker’s native language, having a type of a secret code among friends, and preventing Alzheimer’s. There are many reasons for knowing multiple languages that look good on applications. First, on college applications, it shows that the applicant is willing to devote time and energy into learning something. This in turn, will show the reviewer that you would be willing to work hard on college studies as well. On a job application it makes an employee more marketable because even if it is an employee at McDonald’s, there is always the possibility that a customer might not speak English. If you know this other language you would be able to communicate with the customer. Also focusing on the McDonald’s example, if an applicant and another potential employee had exactly the same qualifications the company would look for little things to set the two apart. The fact that you know another language is a huge achievement. That makes the person unique when compared to other candidates. Another reason is that many companies have sister companies in other parts of the world or do business with companies in other locations. Knowing the language of the other company’s country would make someone stand out in the sea of applicants. By knowing this language the applicant would be able to communicate with people from the company to solve problems. This could also increase the possibility to travel abroad to the location. One major part of learning a language is often being able to travel to a foreign country. Being able to speak the native language has many benefits in and of itself. When you travel to another country you are truly representing America. David Barry made this, “Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.” By putting forth the effort to speak with people in their own language it shows that the traveler is doing their best to take care of themself in a different environment. The locals can see their effort and are more willing to help. It’s also good because this way the traveler can navigate, go to restaurants, and speak with the locals without the help of a friend or translator. Speaking to the locals is often a highlight of many people’s trips. It gives insight on a new way of life and can develop new friendships. It is easy to get to know people with whom we have much in common. These are people with whom we would most easily bond.. Now, what if these people spoke two entirely different languages? They may not even meet each other simply because they couldn’t understand each other. If one or both of them learned the other person’s language, they could create a lifetime friendship. Especially with social networking at an all-time high, the ability to converse with people from around the globe becomes easier each time a new website is created. Often times the creators learn other languages to help their website to appeal to people of other cultures. Many scholars, authors, artists, poets, and other people of professions that require an excellent grasp of their own language, study another language as well. This is often because learning another language helps to improve your English. For most people, the beauty of their own language is taken for granted because they have nothing to compare it to. When studying a foreign language students are able to see how the sentence structure differs from their own language as well as the vocabulary and conversational aspects. Often times, people are taken aback when studying languages such as French or Spanish due to how melodic the sentences sound. Or, as is the case with languages such as Chinese or Japanese, people are confused, but intrigued, at how the simple change in pitch can create a new word. The way that ideas are presented in other languages are often different than they are presented in English. Learning another language can help you to construct your sentences in a way that is more meaningful, creative, and precise than it would have otherwise been. With this, an author’s writing will become more fluid and will have an effect on more people. One fun reason to learn another language is that if the student has study it with a friend, both of you can converse without others knowing what you are saying. This is something that can be immensely helpful when speaking to family about private matters while out in public, or making important decisions in public. For example, a person may be making a large purchase, such as a car, and want to discuss some of its issues but you don’t want to have others eavesdropping. In this situation you could use your other language, especially if it is a language that not many people study, to talk to whoever came along with you. Eavesdropping is something that everyone does, but also something that everyone hates. This problem is easily avoided if the student studies a language that not many people study. Another way to help this is if you can find someone to study with. That, in and of itself, is encouragement. It keeps you accountable and learning with a friend is much more enjoyable. Did you know that there is an effective way to help the minds of you and your loved ones? An average of 1,252 people per day are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. With the astonishing numbers such as this one, about a million people are affected indirectly, at least, each day; Alzheimer’s disease is a real concern to most people. As may develop Alzheimer’s or another type of cognitive disorder as they age. Many studies have found that bilingual people, who begin to develop these types of disorders, although their physical condition may be similar, retain normal mental ability for much longer. Monolingual people begin suffering the effects much sooner. Although they both suffer, these studies suggest that it can prevent the onset Alzheimer’s for as long as a few years before it the disease takes its toll on their brain. This is because the part of your brain that it first affects is protected by the exercise you have provided it with. This “exercise” is how the brain keeps from meshing the two languages together in your mind. Learning this new language helps because it creates new neural pathways, the more neural pathways that are created, the more “backup” the brain has once the disease starts to have an effect. What many people don’t realize until it’s too late is that prevention is often preferable to the treatment. With so many benefits at the price of about an hour a day, it is shocking that more people are not learning new languages. Even those who already know a second language can only be benefited by the new knowledge of another language. People who live in a larger city, one which has a community of Chinese, Italian, or Hispanic population along with many others, have the advantage of being submerged in another language. By showing an interest in learning the language anyone can gain new friends, a healthier brain, a new secret code against the narrow minded, and a new skill to create an outstanding résumé. As an added bonus, studies show that the easiest way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. As students, increasing the number of skills to add to applications for college is crucial. It shows that the student is hardworking, well r
ounded, and has ambition. As difficult as learning a language can be, it is well worth the time, money, and energy spent on the endeavor.