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Why learning a language is good for mind, body & soul

By Jess Melia on 15th July 2016

Learning a language can enhance your existence in so many ways. It’s almost a crime that so many Brits restrict themselves to English. Don’t get me wrong, we do try, but our attempts normally result in embarrassment or dismissal so you can understand why many revert back to our universally spoken language. It’s always worth persevering though, because learning a language will not only expand your mind, but it will improve your body and soul too.

Mind

Being bilingual actually improves your brain health. It’s proven. Many tests have been done on the overall brain function and cognitive skills of those who speak more than one language. Learning a language will actually increases your general intelligence, makes you better at planning, prioritising and decision making, as well as giving you the room to exercise mental flexibility.

These aspects go on to prove my next point: job opportunities. Learning a foreign language will mean you generally exhibit more intellectual prowess – meaning that you get to choose from a larger job pool by default, but it also means you can widen where you look for them. You can start looking for jobs abroad, or move to locations you were once dissuaded from travelling to due to a language barrier. Language knowledge is a highly sought after attribute and your employability will absolutely increase.  

As I mentioned above, learning a new language does mean the chance to improve your intelligence, but how does it do this? When you learn a new language, your brain finds ways to learn more effectively. Teaching yourself something new will always kickstart your brain into gear to adapt to new knowledge and information. As adults, we can be guilty of closing our minds to new ideas but learning a new language can open us up and expand our mind.

Soul

In a recent survey it was found that over half of 25-34 year olds say their language skills affect where they choose to go on holiday. In a world where millennials are seen to be a backpacker generation, this really is surprising. It’s no secret that improving your language skills will help you feel more confident about the place you are travelling to – therefore expanding your options.

This brings me onto the cultured and varied lifestyle you could lead if you were able to speak different languages than your own. The confidence to immerse yourself in other cultures is hard to find, especially when the language barrier consistently trips you up. You’ll find yourself enjoying travelling much more if you have the capacity to take on board other languages.

Once you’ve built up the confidence in speaking the tongue of different countries, you’ll be able to build much richer relationships and friendships. You’ll be able to converse on a level much deeper than hand gestures and broken sentences and there’s no better way to  learn then throwing yourself into the deep end this way.

Body

The saying usually goes in the order of ‘mind, body, soul’, however I truly believe your body’s survival is based on the treatment of the other two factors – your mind and soul. Your outer shell is the product of both, which is why I’ve included it last on the list.

One of the main places in the body that learning a foreign language can effect is obviously the brain. You’ll find you boost your memory gain an increased attention span. Being bilingual can lead to hearing language generally better, you’ll have improved listening skills while the brain works harder to distinguish the different types of sounds.

Like I mentioned above, you’ll feel a much more well-rounded individual if you learn a language. Your confidence will skyrocket – meaning the way you hold yourself will be with a little more pride.

Image credit: pixabay.com/Sprachschuleaktiv