As someone who is a Spanish major, I love preaching to people about why learning another language is so important. There’s so much more you can do when you become bilingual, or even trilingual. I don’t think there’s anyone who will tell you they regret knowing more than one language.
Although the skill is hard to master and takes time, it’s worth the trouble. Here’s why:
You’ll Open the Door to New Jobs
This one is pretty simple. The more languages you know, the more jobs will be available to you. Although I haven’t made it into the workforce yet, I’ve already seen job postings specifically looking for people who are bilingual. Plus, I’ve been told countless times how many different jobs are desperately looking for people who can speak English and Spanish (or many other combinations too). With our country becoming one that’s increasingly diverse, I think the need will only increase for this.
You could try your hand at translating for a hospital or court room, or even just get a raise at your own job. (I’m serious, salaries will increase with the more languages that you know). It’s also possible to get a job internationally, maybe even in your dream country!
You’ll Meet New People
When I studied abroad, I had the opportunity to speak with people from Spain that didn’t know English at all. I learned many interesting things about their lives and they, in turn, learned about mine. It’s an interaction that never would’ve happened if I hadn’t known a second language.
It’s very important to reach outside of your little community bubble and interact with the world. Why not do that in another language?
You’ll Experience New Cultures
Along with learning a new language comes learning a new culture. Honestly, I would say that learning the culture is the more important of the two. There’s so many interesting things that people do around the world that you’re never going to know about until you learn their language. It’s a unique experience.
It’s deepened even further when you get to travel to a country that speaks that language and really see how they live, because you can communicate with them. You’ll learn those people’s quirks and customs in a way that you just can’t by reading a history book.
Although I’ve only mentioned a few reasons, I could go on forever. I believe people underestimate the value of knowing a language that is foreign to you. Of course it’s hard, but the payoff is worth it.
If we truly want to keep cultures appreciated and alive, this is the best way to do it. Every time someone takes that first step at learning a new language, the world becomes a bit smaller and we all become closer. At the same time, though, you’ll realize just how diverse and huge our world really is.