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Branching out into the world of languages is beneficial for everyone

Learning a new language can sharpen your brain and introduce you to new cultures

Izzy James, JAG reporter/photographer

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When I started high school, I didn’t think I would enjoy taking a French class, but then it turned out to be something I really like and benefit from. Most students will take a foreign language class at some point in their school career. Unfortunately, there are some people who will opt out of learning a new language.

Learning a different language can help you in the future. When your application tells possible employers that you can speak another language, it will make you stick out in their mind. The possibility of a larger salary is another perk of taking a foreign language. MIT economist, Albert Saiz, found that there is a 2% salary premium for American college graduates who can speak a second language versus those who can’t.

Learning a new language also opens the door to learning about another culture. When you learn about a new culture it can help you connect to others who came from that culture, which means you could make stronger relationships. If you learn a new language and then go to a country where that is the native language, you will have an upper hand. It will allow you to talk to locals and connect with them. It can also help you navigate your way around and get a better view of the country than you would if you were only able to go to the normal tourist spots. Foreign language classes also emphasize the culture, which could help you receive a more authentic experience if you are to travel or study abroad.

Some believe that two people who speak different languages may see the world in different ways. If this is true, when you learn a second language you can think in a new way, as well as understand how other people think. For instance, if you are a native English speaker who learns Spanish, you will see the world from a new perspective, which may be different from other people around you. This means that you could think outside the box and come up with a new viewpoint or argument that your peers wouldn’t consider. Considering multiple viewpoints is a helpful problem-solving skill that can benefit you in multiple areas of your life.

A second language can also help people develop or strengthen other skills. According to a study on foreign language and test scores, https://www.actfl.org/advocacy/what-the-research-shows/studies-supporting#satact  studying another language can improve students’ scores on the English and mathematics sections of the ACT. Learning a second language can also allow kids to see through a different lens and look at things from different perspectives. It can also improve memory, enhanced concentration, problem solving and critical thinking, multitasking and listening skills.

Learning a foreign language can improve many parts of a person’s life, including their future prospects and mental acuity. Learning about another culture is also a great way to make some stronger connections and get a deeper look at a country outside of your own.

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