Learning a second language – and even more languages – is not only profitable but necessary. International students studying abroad would find learning the language of their abroad school very important.
This may sound difficult, but with the availability of online language learning sites and apps, you could easily learn more languages.
You may not deem it profitable learning a new language until you’re in the midst of people who speak a language you don’t understand. Moreover, there is a certain pride you get when you’re able to communicate with people of different races and cultures, in their own language.
The reasons why you need to learn a second language are innumerable, so we’ll stick to the best twenty. Also, in this post, we’ll show you places online where you can easily navigate to learn a second language. But first, let’s show you why you ought to learn another language.
Benefits of Learning a Second Language
Here are some of the benefits of learning a second of learning a new language.
#1. Increases Job Opportunities
Have you ever seen a job advert that specifically states that applicants must know how to speak a certain language? Yes, there is a large number of them out there especially if you hope to get a job outside your home country. Also, learning a second language opens up a world of career opportunities for you. From freelancing to interpreting, to educator, to just about any job industry.
The world is fast-changing and a greater number of companies are choosing to open branches in several locations around the world. You must be a globally-minded individual who speaks another foreign language before such companies hire you. Even in companies in your home country, your ability to speak a second language may be what secures you a job.
#2. Boosts Your Brain
Learning a new language is quite complex. It is adhering to a whole new complicating system of rules, structures, and lexis. Thus your brain has to work more. It has to cope with the complexity of understanding and absorbing new patterns.
Gradually, as your brain begins to grasp the new meaning of words and assist in your communication, you develop cognitive thinking and problem-solving skills. These skills are beneficial both personally and professionally.
#3. Improves Your Memory
Learning a second language also implies communicating in different languages. You don’t learn a language you won’t be interacting with. Therefore, to effectively learn another language, you are exercising your memory. This is because it now has more information it dishes out to you on a regular basis and on quick demand.
A new language requires not only familiarity with vocabulary and rules, but also the ability to recall and apply the knowledge. And applying this new language on a daily basis is like taking your brain to the gym. It only gets better and sharper. Being multilingual will make you quick to recall names, directions, facts, and figures.
#4. Improves Your Ability to Multi-Task
By having to request different language information from the brain and switching between languages, you multitask the brain. Some people also refer to this brain multitasking as mental juggling. Because the brains of bilinguals are used to switching in and out of languages they are better suitable for activities of high mental abilities. Such as editing out irrelevant information and focusing on important information. They make better multitaskers.
According to a study from Pennsylvania State University, multilingual people are better at prioritizing tasks and working on multiple projects at one time.
#5. Improves Performance in Other Academic Areas
Learning a second language leads to higher cognitive skills and consequently improves the student’s academics. Because bilingual students can concentrate and multitask better than their classmates, they are poised to do better in standardized tests. They do great in math, reading, and vocabulary, as well as other problem-solving tasks.
You may also check out the US Department of Education and Culture’s Critical Language Scholarship Program if you need funding to study a language.
#6. Opportunity to Meet New people
If you are the kind of person who loves to meet and interact with new people, then learning a new language should be a priority. When you learn new languages, doors of opportunity to socialize around the world open up for you. For example, you immediately make new friends by learning in a group setting. If you don’t already start testing out your new language with the people in the group, you can meet people online. People connect better with you when you speak their mother tongue.
#7. It Becomes Easier to Learn Another Language
When you successfully learn a second language, you’ll find it easy to learn another language. The techniques you used to learn the second language becomes handy for yet another language. As your cognitive process increases, so does your ability to replicate the language learning process with multiple languages.
Your brain learns to identify the techniques of learning a language and break them down into a series of steps. After learning one language, your brain by itself will understand how different languages are structured. As a result of increased awareness of syntax, grammar, and sentence structure.
Do you know that you can study in turkey through the Turkish Government’s Yunus Emre Turkish Language Scholarships Program?
#8. It Boosts Your Confidence
You are bound to make blunders when discovering a new language. Some of these blunders, you make them in front of an audience. This is good for the learning process. You’ll find that the more people laugh at you for your mistakes, the you grow a resolution to be better. Thus testing your new language skills in front of more audiences. Naturally, you find yourself moving out of your comfort zone, the fruit of which is a deep sense of accomplishment.
You may also be interested in these 12 most effective test-taking strategies and tips.
#9. It is Becoming Essential
The world is ever progressive and everything now is done on a global scale. You can’t stay monolingual if you hope to either compete favorably or reach out to a larger audience. Becoming bilingual is becoming increasingly essential. Not only is it a thing of pride to be able to speak more than one language but also an affirmation that you are still relevant in the global society.
#10. It Expands Your Travel Chances
Nothing boosts your thirst for adventure in several countries more than the ability to communicate in key foreign languages. When you learn to speak Spanish, for example, you will love to travel to over 20 countries where Spanish is the main language. You are certain of gaining acceptance in a country where you can communicate in their language. You will thus have no trouble adding these countries to your travel list.
If you have mastered the Spanish Language, you can check out this List of Spanish Scholarships for International Students To Study In Spain.
#11. It Improves Your First Language
When you learn a new language you become more conscious of the rudiments and intricacies of your own language. This is a result of the natural comparison that comes with being multilingual. You begin to check where your language differs from the other language. Automatically, when you make sentences in your second language, in your heart, you interpret them in your native language. Thus better grasping your own language.
#12. It Increases Your Understanding of the World
We all thirst to know the world we live in better. It’s the reason for all our studies. We are also not content with what we know about our country. Without knowing about the workings of other countries, we don’t feel like our knowledge is adequate. Meanwhile, we are limited to what we can know of other countries by language.
So, when we understand a new language, we are taking a step to explore the world. You will instantly have access to books, films, TV programs, and newspapers of the country that speaks that language. you will thus gain a real insight into the history and culture of the nation.
#13. You Experience New Cultures
As languages are different, so are the cultures of the world. How do people around the world live? How do they behave? What are their values? These are questions our naturally inquisitive minds ask. We want to know beyond ourselves and our people to other people and their cultures. When you understand a new language, you better understand the culture of the people who speak the language. Language, as you may already know, is an aspect of culture.
#14. It is an Achievement in Itself
When we learn something new, we get the feeling that we have accomplished a great task. You get this same sense of accomplishment when you learn a second language. Since it wasn’t easy to master a second language, you can rightly flaunt your new knowledge. Furthermore, it is a skill worth adding to your CV, one which your employers will love to see. Also, the sense of achievement you get from mastering a new language will bolster you to learn another.
You can also learn to boost your CV as an International Student by following these 21 vital tips.
#15. It Enhances Your Decision-Making Skills
There is more to mastering a new language than meets the eyes. Sometimes, we make the wrong decisions or fail to make decisions due to the interference of our emotions. We make better decisions by allowing only the right amount of emotion to rationality. When you master a foreign language, you are better positioned to make better decisions.
Researchers from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona support the emotional distance notion of mastering a foreign language. Their studies suggest that using a foreign language makes people more utilitarian which consequently leads to better decision making
#16. It Increases Networking Skills
Networking is such a vital part of today’s business world. You reach greater heights and achieve more when you network with others. However, the language barrier could limit the expansion of your network. If you are able to communicate in someone’s mother tongue, you also become more aware of their culture.
Consequently, you will be more flexible and appreciative of their opinions and facts. You’ll thus be able to relate well to different groups of people and make better enriching connections.
#17. Your Brain Gets Bigger
Funny as it may sound, yes, your brain gets bigger when you’re bilingual. And we’re not talking about getting bigger from a brain tumor here. We mean that when you understand more than one language, you may have more grey matter in an essential part of your brain.
Initially, people believed that bilingualism delayed language development in children. However, research from the Georgetown University Medical Center has proved otherwise. Indeed, bilingual individuals perform better, compared with monolinguals, on tasks that require attention, inhibition, and short-term memory, collectively termed “executive control.”
#18. Less Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are elder people’s illnesses and may be inevitable for some. However, recent research shows that speaking two languages requires a specific type of brain training. Also, switching between two languages requires a specific type of attention. People who exercise the executive function part of their brain reduce their chances of having dementia and Alzheimer’s.
According to Suvarna Alladi, one of the researchers, “Speaking more than one language is thought to lead to better development of the areas of the brain that handle executive functions and attention tasks, which may help protect from the onset of dementia.”
#19. It Helps You Stay Smart in Tourist Areas
When you understand the language of a place you visit, you find it easier to blend into their culture. You become smart enough to wear their attire and behave like the people there. This is especially useful in places where tourists are easy prey or targets of fraudsters. This alertness will make your visit exciting and naturally lead you to make new friends as you’ll also discover that relating to locals makes you less of a target.
#20. It Boosts Your Creativity
The depth of knowledge that comes with mastering a new language will boost your creativity. By blending your language with the second language, you’ll find that you can express yourself more creatively. Also, you may find yourself reaching for alternative words when you can’t remember the original one you wanted. This enhances your creativity and makes you experiment with new words and phrases. You’ll also grow used to thinking outside the box and solving complex problems by exploring alternative options.
If you are certain that you are creative, then you may like to apply for the Milton Fisher Scholarship 2019 for Innovation and Creativity.
Where to Learn Languages Online
Now you’ve seen the advantages of learning a second language you may be pumped with the desire to acquire a second language already. Your next question now would be, where can I learn a new language? Pretty easy answer, you can learn languages in educational institutions and online through dedicated websites and apps.
There are various brick-and-mortar buildings where you can learn a new language but of course, it’s for a price. Most of which may be very expensive. Meanwhile, it’s not like your employer is going to place you on a sabbatical so you may achieve your personal desire to learn a second language.
If you’ll prefer to take an online course instead, here are 45 free online courses with printable certificates which you can take now.
Considering your second option – online – you have the leisure of learning a new language at your own time. Also, it saves you a lot of costs as some of these online platforms for learning languages are free. They also provide you with great options. You can choose between beginner and intro-level courses, conversational courses, and comprehensive ones that will make you fluent. These free courses let you decide if you can really invest time and energy into mastering a second language.
Here are some online language learning platforms you can try out.
While it is effective in learning languages, Duolingo is also fun and addictive. This online language learning service takes a game-like approach to learning and offers apps for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android. Create a profile to get started. You can then either launch a beginner’s course or take a test to move into an advanced lesson. Duolingo is completely free to use.
#2. Open Culture
With OpenCulture you can learn a popular language like English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, or Mandarin. The online language learning platform has a total of 48 free language course options on its download portal. You can get Farsi/Persian, Estonian, Icelandic, Gaelic, and many other languages as free mp3 downloads to download and listen to later.
Livemocha is an online language learning platform that gives you access to free lessons for 35 languages. It also offers a vibrant community of native language speakers from 190 countries. You can connect with people from the community to practice your speech.
Babbel allows you to learn 14 new languages including English, French, German, Portuguese, Swedish, and Turkish. In addition to learning speech, these online language learning platforms teach you to speak, read, and write in the language of your choice. Babel also has mobile apps, and its beginner courses are available for free.
However, you can upgrade to a paid course if you choose, with prices as low as $6.95 a month if you sign on for one year.
One of the more popular platforms, Busuu boasts over 50 million native language users. Its approach is unique, as you will become part of a social community that allows you to learn languages from others. They offer the GSET (Global Scale of English Tests) certification, as well, if you’ve been practicing English and want to see where you stand.
#6. Learn a Language
Learn a Language is a good option for you if you want a simple language learning option. The U.S. Institute of Languages created this online language learning platform to help people bridge language communication gaps. The platform uses the Visual Link teaching methodology which David S. Clark developed.
#7. Mango Languages
With Mango, you can get language lessons for over 60 languages including Spanish, Swahili, Punjabi, and Icelandic. This online language learning platform is unique for being the first film-based language and culture learning system in the market.
Mango Languages is available on the web as well as on mobile apps. Furthermore, you can purchase Mango for $20 a month or access it free at any public library in the United States or Canada.
#8. Transparent Language
Transparent Language offers you paid language courses. However, there’s a free trial as well as the email option of receiving free language-learning resources. You’ll have to signup to get the email feature, though. This online language learning platform covers over 100 different languages. You may find about any kind of language here.
#9. Surface Languages
Just like the name, Surface Languages gives you part knowledge of a language. It is a decent choice if you’re traveling to a new region for work and just want to pick up some conversational cues before you go. This online language learning platform uses audio, flashcards, and games to teach words and phrases you may encounter in common situations in another country.
Learning a second language could open doors that were formerly closed to you. You could build better networks to enrich your life and business, make new friends, and better explore the world when you speak people’s mother’s tongue.
Also, even though it sounds incredulous, you may be able to stall your chances of getting dementia or Alzheimer’s by 4.5 years if you’re bilingual. It isn’t paying you right now to be bilingual, so, check out our list of free online language learning platforms and master a second language today.
FAQs on learning a second language
The term ‘English as Second Language (ESL) has traditionally referred to students who come to school speaking languages other than English at home. The term in many cases is incorrect, because some who come to school have English as their third, fourth, fifth, and so on, language.
If we are able to put in 10 hours a day to learn a language, then basic fluency in the easy languages should take 48 days, and for difficult languages 72 days. Accounting for days off equates to two months or three months time. If you only put in five hours a day, it will take twice as long.
People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills.
1. Conversation, Conversation, Conversation. …
2. Intensity of study trumps length of study. …
3. Classes suck and are an inefficient use of time and money. …
4. Start with the 100 most common words. …
5. Carry a pocket dictionary. …
6. Keep practicing in your head.
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