Published On: Tue, Jun 2nd, 2015

The 6 Benefits of Being Bilingual

Learning another language is one of those things that a lot of people have on their bucket lists, mine included. There are many benefits to being bilingual, the most obvious one being able to understand and talk to people of different nationalities.

bilingual

But knowing how to talk to people is just the tip of the iceberg. Scientists and researchers have studied the topic for years and have concluded that being fluent in another language affects the brain in a lot of positive ways.

1.   Immerse yourself in other Cultures

When you’re the traveling type, learning the language (or at least the basics) of the country you’re visiting is a great way to really immerse yourself into their culture. Talk to the locals with ease and ask questions about the best places to go visit. It pays to have friends abroad, and knowing the lingo can go a long way when you’re on foreign soil. Speaking another language also opens you up to be more appreciative and respectful of other people, their beliefs and their country.

2.   Read Books as intended by the Author

There are a lot of great books and other publications that wasn’t originally written in English. When something is translated, some of the messages get inevitably lost in translation, no matter how good the translator is. There’s just no substitute to some of the colloquialisms used in other languages when translated directly into English, and the substitutes are sometimes lacking meaning and context.

3.   Keep Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia at bay

Studies have shown that bilingual and multilingual people are more resistant to mental illness and can stave off early onset Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia when compared to monolinguals. This is directly linked to brain activity – bilinguals are constantly switching between the two languages, and this gives the brain quite a workout.

4.   More Career Opportunities

Polyglots are in such high demand now. Being bilingual opens doors and career opportunities that monolinguals simply can’t get to because of the language barrier. You want another advantage? Bilinguals get paid a pretty penny for their services. Companies usually set a higher budget for polyglots because the good ones are hard to find.

5.   Improve on your own Language

Probably one of the coolest benefits to being bilingual is the fact that you’re naturally inclined to improve on your own language. Let’s say you’re a native English speaker and you’re learning French. When using French, your brain will be constantly referencing your English language skills and vocabulary to check and compare everything. The same thing will happen when you’re using English. It’s literally going to be a tug of war, but in a good way.

6.   You’re Smarter than the average Bear

Studies have shown that bilingual children or even kids that are currently learning a second language are smarter than kids who aren’t. Bilinguals kids are better at problem solving, planning and other mentally demanding tasks because the experience has an effect on the brain’s executive function.

As you can see, the benefits can really have a positive effect on your life, your travels, your career and even in your twilight years. When you’re travelling, no more asking people if the people you meet can speak English because you can talk like a local.

You can haggle and get the best deals on shops and in the market. If your friends are partying abroad and can’t find a reliable translator in San Diego, Ibiza or Sao Paulo, tell them to buy you a ticket and you’ll do it for free.

 

I guess I won’t be putting this thing off any longer!