With over 65% of the total American population saying they only speak English, it’s hard to understand where and when the public school system has failed. In a world that is interconnected and where you have access to all the information you need to thrive, many people fail to understand the importance of learning about a different culture or speaking a second language.
However, it is never too late to start learning and here are some of the most important reasons that should encourage you to buy a dictionary or hire a private tutor to teach you.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy but unless you constantly challenge your brain, you’ll never be able to pass a certain point. Various research in the field has shown that studying a foreign language improves your brain activity, increasing your creativity and problem-solving skills. It will also help you cope better with unknown situations.
The use of a different language tends to delay neurological affections and diseases, including memory loss and dementia because it constantly challenges your brain to learn new words and find additional ways to express your emotions.
Globalization has taken over almost all aspects of today’s commerce, which means that people need to constantly adapt their businesses to foreign cultures and expectations. Therefore, speaking at least one foreign language is vital for good business, especially since most companies cannot get everything they need for their business to thrive from national or local partners.
Most multinational companies provide customer support in various languages and require their staff to speak at least one other language, if not more. The demand for bilingual workers in the United States alone doubled in five years, from 2010 and 2015, and will only increase in the future. Currently, 9 out of 10 U.S. employers are dependent on employees with foreign language skills.
Although most American companies require Spanish as a second language, and there are also others relying on Mandarin (Chinese), Arabic, and French.
It enhances your social and global skills
Being socially awkward is sometimes linked to the inability of a person to speak a group’s language to have common topics and a sense of belonging. If you go to any American high school, you’ll most likely find children of other ethnicities or cultures forming small groups, relying on individuals who speak the same language or come from a similar cultural background.
Breaking the linguistic barrier is the first step into making new friends and enhancing your social skills, especially if you study abroad or go to a school with many students who don’t speak your language.
Learning about a new culture also helps individuals overcome stereotypes and preconceptions which often leads to racism. Therefore, it will open new horizons for you and help you easily integrate into any circle of people, whether at school or work.
The ultimate fantasy of American students is to take a leap year between high school and college and travel the world. Whether it’s South America, Asia or Europe, everyone dreams of reaching new realms and seeing some of the most popular buildings, beaches, and sites.
If you dream of eating your way out through Italy, speaking the language will enhance your experience. You’ll learn how the locals think and you’ll be able to understand their culture more. Although not illegal, many countries are known to practice differential tariffs for tourists who want to eat at local restaurants or visit the most popular sites. So, if you only go by with English, prepare to pay up to 10-20 times more.
Ultimately, speaking at least one foreign language will improve all aspects of your life. Who knows when you will need to understand what people are saying near you? You may even happen to look for a nice cage for a tortoise and the owner of the pet shop might not understand what you’re asking because you don’t speak his or her language. Wouldn’t it be better if we could all understand each other?