5 Ways You Will Better Yourself With A Second Language

Photo Credit: 4alltravelers.com

Photo Credit: 4alltravelers.com

I am one-fourth Croatian and three-fourths a bunch of other white people, mostly European. I grew up hearing a few Croatian and Polish words from my dad’s side of the family. My grandmother on my mom’s side is fluent in French. I have aunts who married into my family from China and Taiwan. Spanish is spoken all over Nevada where I mostly grew up, and the Bay Area where I live now is a melting pot of cultures and languages spoken all over the place. Too bad I only speak one language because I would be well-rounded in many more ways.

Sadly, I am the majority. Only one out of five Americans speaks a second language other than English. How do we bridge that gap? Maybe the best way is to spotlight the benefits.

Learning a second language will:

1) Make you more employable. Whether you’re applying for a waitressing job at a Mexican restaurant or a CEO position at a Fortune 500 company, applicants with a second language – regardless of the language – are ranked higher than those with only one. You are seen as someone with an increased work ethic for being able to learn such a complex thing on your own time.

2) Open your world up with new cultures and travel options. Learning a language does not just mean learning new words to speak. You also get an education in a different culture and countries / lands / people compared to the culture(s) you were raised in. Get your passport and travel to places where this language is spoken and it will be a more enriched experience than an “English-washed” version.

3) Allow you to meet new people you wouldn’t have met before. Just think of how many new friends and acquaintances you could have just because you are able to communicate with more of the world now! You will feel inclusive to a community of people you are now part of.

4) Increase your confidence. This goes for any new skill you have acquired that you’d like to put into practice around others. The more you learn about something interesting, the more your confidence in excelling in this new something will seep into the rest of your life, and to those around you. You may even inspire others to take on a new language as well.

5) Impress / confuse those around you. This could go into the “look at me” pile here, but at least you could have some fun you otherwise couldn’t have had before. Speak that other language to throw off a stranger who is bothering you. Break out this new “party trick” and see how others react (and who else knows the language, too). You will at least have one more interesting fact about yourself that others around you may not have, and that feels great.

As a land-locked, one-language American with bigger dreams not yet realized, I’ve always wanted to learn a second language. I want to travel outside the US, but I have yet to see the money or time for this reality. “The plan” has always been to learn Croatian and visit Croatia to honor my grandmother and have another interesting feature to my already abnormal self. Benefits aside, my main reason for learning a second language is to better myself as a human being who has a minuscule number of days on this Earth. We only have this one life that can and will remain one-sided knowing only one language.

Go ahead and learn that second language even if it’s not spoken around you or particularly useful in your community. Expand your perspective past the farthest depths of the culture and society you were raised in. You will be the one of five in my American case who have multiple extraordinary sides to their personality, perspective, and humanity.

About Mandy Norman

Mandy is a content manager and designer by day, and crafter/hobby writer/thinker by night. Her relationship with her cat, giraffes, music, and caffeine are borderline unhealthy, but nothing stops her from speaking her mind and “making things look pretty.” She mans two blogs in her spare time, whatmandythinks and whatmandyloves. See All of Mandy’s Posts

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