Did you know that half of the world is bilingual? Billions of people can speak at least two languages fluently. So, nothing’s stopping you. If you want to experience these benefits of being bilingual, you can start your journey today. In fact, you don’t even need to be proficient to reap these benefits. They naturally happen as you progress.
Speaking a foreign language has countless benefits. It’s worth spending the time to master a second language. You’ll quickly see the improvements to your life. But what are they exactly? Here are 15 of the most amazing benefits of being bilingual to motivate you.
Benefits of Being Bilingual
Become Better at Communication
If you love talking to people in one language, imagine how many more you can talk to in two. Even if you learn a language that has a much smaller population of native speakers, you can still communicate with a much larger group of people.
Speaking a second language also makes you better at communication in general. Once you’ve mastered a foreign language, you’ll have insight into how the native speakers think. More empathy and understanding go a long way in your everyday interactions.
It’s also highly likely that you’ll become a significantly better listener. You have learned to work through the nuances and expressions that are very different from your first language, which gives you clues on how to listen more efficiently. It’s only natural that this will spill into your normal listening skills.
Grow a Bilingual Business
If you own a business, being bilingual comes with a lot of benefits:
- Expand your network: Knowing another language expands your networking opportunities. Even if you can’t offer services and goods to a country where your second language is spoken, you can work with people in your area who do.
- Fast problem solving: Being bilingual makes you a better problem solver. You’ll think faster on your feet, and resolve issues quickly.
- Better reputation: Let’s be honest. Speaking a second language is an impressive quality. This is incredibly beneficial if you want to earn respect.
More Career Opportunities
Bilingual employees are more sought-after and respected. Most businesses will hire someone bilingual over a monolingual applicant. Even if the bilingual applicant’s second language is not that common. Companies, especially those with foreign business partners always like to have bilingual staff close by. This gives them a chance to have a translator or someone with more insight into the culture nurture the business relationship.
There’s also a pay increase when you can speak a second language. This is one of the most direct benefits of being bilingual. Companies will pay higher wages to bilingual employees. Since their skills enhance the brand portfolio, businesses see bilingual people as assets. If you learn a second language, perhaps you can leverage a higher pay from your employers.
Make travel easier and more enjoyable.
If you are or aspire to be a globetrotter, learning languages is a must! Traveling is way more fun and easier when there isn’t a language barrier; you can have a more immersive and authentic experience. You’ll be able to talk directly with the locals and make more friends along the way. Knowing what food to order without pointing at pictures and asking for directions when you get lost is also a bonus.
Knowing the language makes you more independent, which in turn can make the entire trip much more enjoyable. It’s important to add that you don’t need to be fluent to have these travel benefits either. As long as you can manage a basic conversation, native speakers will assist happily. There is nothing like showing an interest in someone and their culture to make them open up and talk.
Perhaps the most interesting perk is that you will probably end up spending less during your travels. You will be able to negotiate and find less costly places to eat and rest. Not to mention better customer service by appreciative locals working in the tourist industry.
Bilinguals Have Better Brain Health
Learning a language is a great way to keep your brain healthy and sharp.
Being bilingual can improve a person’s multitasking skills, attention control, problem solving and creativity as it promotes outside-the-box thinking. It can also help improve your memory – handy when shopping and remembering people’s names!
Being bilingual gives you better brain health. From improved memory to cognitive abilities, you’ll become a better student and thinker by speaking a second language. You’ll also improve your attention span. The more you exercise your brain, the better you can perform. Knowing and using a second language achieves this in more than one way.
Speaking a second language literally improves your brain too. Bilingual people have a better fighting chance against dementia and Alzheimer’s. Forgetting becomes harder when you’ve trained your brain to commit an entire language to memory.
More Options for Entertainment
One of the most enjoyable things about being bilingual is that you can get more out of your daily routine, even without trying. You’ll have more access to foreign media an entertainment. The new films, news, podcasts, and music you can enjoy will also enhance your second language skills.
Then there is how much it can expand what you can watch and enjoy. Websites like Netflix and Hulu give you a lot of foreign films, but sometimes you want something a little less mainstream. If you are bilingual, you don’t have to wait until a provider gets around to offering what you want to watch. You can find your own shows and movies.
Being Bilingual Means You Can Help Others
There is something incredibly rewarding about being able to help someone. When you speak two languages you have the ability to connect people. You can do and help in more ways if you speak a foreign language. Knowing that you made someone’s life a little bit better is a reward all on its own. Although this benefit of being bilingual isn’t about you, it can still enrich your life.
It can give children an academic advantage.
Studies have shown that bilingual children can outperform monolingual children in a number of subject areas. The effects of bilingualism can help improve a child’s educational development, cognitive functions, social skills, literacy, and emotional skills that have positive effects for many years to come.
Increase awareness of other cultures.
Being bilingual exposes an individual to diverse customs, ideas, and perspectives from different cultures. Of course, you can still learn about other cultures without knowing a second language, but language learning really allows for a more immersive experience.
Improve competitiveness in the job market.
Speaking a second language can provide more job opportunities, depending on which languages you speak. Communication in the workplace is important, and more companies, especially those with international offices, are considering bilingualism a high priority. Being able to communicate with foreign clients or customers is considered a big advantage too.
Find it easier to learn a third language.
Learning a second language helps you reflect on your own language and gain a better aptitude for languages in general. The improved understanding of how language works, coupled with the experience you have already gained, makes it all the easier to learn a third or fourth language. Just look at Queen Elizabeth I.
You can better raise your kids bilingual.
Raising your kids to be bilingual may help them acknowledge the importance of their culture and heritage, as well as develop a stronger personal identity. It’s a great gift to be able to pass on to your children especially if the home language is different to the language taught at school. If you have simply learned a second language, this knowledge can be a big help in encouraging your children to become bilingual too.
Stay mentally stronger for longer.
Recent studies reveal that bilingual people’s brains age more slowly and therefore they live longer and more satisfying lives. It is now widely recognized that being bilingual can delay neurological diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Improve social life.
Speaking a second language opens up a whole new range of social opportunities and can enhance your social skills and confidence. Put simply, the more languages you understand, the more people you can converse with and the more meaningful those relationships can be. As you use your language skills to connect with a wider range people, you’ll give a boost to your confidence in social situations more generally.
It can make you more attractive!
Being bilingual should boost your confidence in the dating market. A Valentine’s Day survey done by language software providers Rocket Languages revealed that 79% of people think someone who is bilingual is more attractive while 77% perceive people as more intelligent if they speak another language. OK, not exactly scientific proof, but interesting nonetheless!
Benefits of Being Bilingual