Words Open Worlds! Ten Advantages of Learning Languages.

Jesús Ángel Miguel García Director, The Spanish Institute

As a father, you want the best opportunities for your children, and learning is the key to success.
Here are ten advantages of knowing languages.
  1. CULTURAL CAPITAL. Your children’s mother’s tongue or a second language is part of a rich culture. It is an intrinsic part of your child’s identity and cultural patrimony, part of   your kid’s cultural capital for your children and their future: personally, socially and professionally.
2. TRANSFERABLE SKILLS. It is an important skill to have, and it helps your child develop and master learning strategies he can apply to other fields. It enhances his cognitive and analytical abilities. It helps him develop skills: problems solving, dealing with abstract concepts, reasoning and applying logic, memory, listening and speaking skills, concentration, origin of words and their history and meaning, communication skills, etc. Learning another language helps him understand better his first language too.
3. WORLD VIEW AND BRAIN POWER. It broadens his mind, and it gives him a different perspective of life and world view.
Furthermore, research shows that bilingualism helps your brain in many ways. "Compared to monolinguals, bilingual (or multilingual) adults show structural alterations in cortical regions and subcortical grey matter structures, as well as in white matter tracts that connect these regions” (Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00429-020-02115-5).

4. MORE AND BETTER OPPORTUNITIES. Speaking another language improves the chances of getting more and better opportunities in life. It opens doors: teaching, translation, international companies and projects, military, diplomacy, international governmental offices, radio and TV stations, tourism, marketing, businesses, public relations, clients, friends, family, etc.

Languages play a vital role in enhancing competitiveness, employability and mobility.

Conversely, poor language skills can cause lose opportunities, and business to lose international contracts, as well hindering the mobility of skills and talent.

5. RICHER LIFE EXPERIENCES. A new language means learning about other cultures and peoples and, consequently, being able to understand them and partake in conversations and activities with them. It enriches life experiences, and it is the instrument that allows one to fully participate in the society where the language is spoken.
6. COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. It becomes part of one’s identity, making one an interesting person, and to stand out. It is a competitive advantage.
It makes one more appealing, even more attractive. In a survey of 3,000 adults in U.S. and UK, an overwhelming majority of respondents said they found people who can speak more than one language more attractive. Seventy-one percent of Americans respondents found bilingualism sexy, and 61 percent of British respondents concurred (Source: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/multilingual-language-benefits/index.html).
7. CONFIDENCE. It develops your confidence and sense of self-worth. Learning another language is also a fulfilling and rewarding thing to do.
8. ACADEMIC OPPORTUNITIES. Those taking a language course can benefit from international travel, and to other universities, as well as scholarships, research and publications.
Those who study in other universities using another language rate it as one of the most significant experiences during their studies.
9. CONNECTIONS. International travel is easier, more pleasant and rewarding when you know another language. It can save you money, time, even your life. You can easily make yourself understood, find places, ask for directions and things, order food, connect with the locals, follow messages, and understand the country’s culture. You can interact more freely, meeting new people, making friends, having more fun and enjoyment.
Another language helps you to break barriers and to connect on a special level of mutual understanding, be it while traveling, socializing or doing business.
10. CULTURE. It opens the door to culture: education, ideas, literature, arts, sciences, films, videos, social media, publications, research, music, etc.
To know languages is a sign a being educated, cultured, cultivated, even sophisticated, a most desirable quality.
Remember: Words open worlds!
Jesús Ángel Miguel García has taught Spanish at British and Canadian universities. He was Languages Manager at the Open University, UK. He is the founder and director of The Spanish Institute, and Research Fellow at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba.
Jes'us Garcia