Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Learn A New Language

 
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The first step is always the hardest. It may just have been a passing thought you’ve had or, on the other hand, something you’ve been considering for a while but just haven’t found the right reasons to go through with it - either way, Language Experience is here to revolutionise language learning in Melbourne. We want to remove as many of the barriers that people have and spread the knowledge of other languages. Not only that, but we have also come up with five of the top reasons to get started right now!

 
 
 
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1. Expand your social circle

 
 
 

Did you know that only 20% of the world’s population can speak English? That means 6 billion people are unable to speak English. Think of the social opportunities you are missing out on if you limited yourself to just the English language. In fact, English is ranked third as the language with the most native speakers. Chinese have over 1 billion native speakers, followed by Spanish with 400 million native speakers and English having only 335 million native speakers.

Learning a new language in Melbourne would especially be beneficial to expand your social circle as we are such a multicultural city. There are so many different people from all parts of the world who call Melbourne home - and with immigration not looking to slow down, this will only continue to grow. I, personally, have met so many people who do not speak English as their first language but now call Melbourne home and I often think about how different our conversations would be if we could converse in each other’s first language.

 
 
 
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2. Increase job opportunities

 
 
 

This is one of the more common reasons we hear from students as their reason to study a new language. With globalisation, our world is becoming smaller and smaller - but the number of languages being spoken are not diminishing. Whether it be international companies setting up offices in Melbourne or even Melbourne-based companies branching out and expanding their reaches to another country, you will often see job descriptions stating that proficiency in a second language will be highly regarded.

Not only this, but have you ever thought about travelling to another country to start working there? Well, the first obstacle would be actually speaking the language of origin. I mean, imagine going through a job interview with hand gestures and a limited grasp of the language. Job interviews are hard enough without having to deal with that - learn the language; walk in and impress your potential employer with your language skills! Even if knowing the second language wasn’t exactly necessary, for example, if you were teaching English in a foreign country, it would still be extremely useful to be able to communicate to your students in their first language.

 
 
 
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3. Maximise the potential of your brain

 
 
 

You might be surprised to find out that being able to speak more than one language actually has a multitude of mental health benefits. A study performed in 2013 showed that patients who were bilingual did not develop dementia until, on average, 4.5 years after patients who could only speak one language. Even the most effective drugs used to treat dementia can only delay symptoms by 6 to 12 months. In that very same study, it also found that the development of Alzheimer’s was delayed significantly for those who could speak more than one language.

Not only is knowing a second language good for your health, it has other great cognitive effects which may save you money in the long-run too. For example, it has been shown that bilinguals are better at prioritising and organising their time, as well as, having a better memory!

With all these great benefits, why wouldn’t you want to be learning a new language?

 
 
 

4. Being switched on while travelling

 
 
 

Anyone who has travelled to a non native-English speaking country, will know the feeling of frustration from communication breakdown due to language differences. Thought you ordered a stir fry noodle, but received a dish of fried rice by mistake? Told the taxi driver to take you to a restaurant but he’s taken you to suit tailor instead? Oh wait, the latter one might not be the taxi driver misunderstanding what you wanted! It’s actually a common ‘scam’ in certain South-East Asian countries where the taxi driver will have a deal with the tailor shop (or similar) and will receive kickbacks for taking potential customers there. Easy for a foreigner to be talked into buying a suit once the pressure sell of the shop owner piles on. However, if you knew the language and could clearly state to the driver where you wanted to go, it would be hard for the driver to play dumb and ‘mistakenly’ take you anywhere apart from your intended destination.

This is just one of many scams around the world that targets foreigners. Learn the language, do your research and avoid the tourist traps.

 
 
 
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5. Get out of your comfort zone

 
 
 

I’m not going to lie. Learning an entirely new language is difficult and challenging. But, what’s life without a bit of a challenge? Obviously, depending on the language you wish to learn, the level of difficulty could vary. For example, Chinese has over 3000 different characters in its alphabet - you can just imagine how long that could take to memorise. However, of course, there are tricks and tips that can be used to help a student learn this difficult language. Whereas you think about French, although it may seem to be similar to English in that it uses a phonetic alphabet, it actually shares very few similarities with English. This is due to the fact that is has imported so many foreign words from other languages.

So get to learning a new language today. Get out of your comfort zone, don’t be taken for the ‘typical foreigner’ and make use out of the language you learn!

 
Timothy Wong