CAREER ADVANCEMENT / SEP. 17, 2014
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5 Ways Learning a Second Language Will Change Your Life

Any given job opening could have tons of applicants. Having an eye-catching resume could be the first thing that gets you noticed, but then it’s a matter of making your wonderful resume stand out from the 15 other wonderful resume’s an employer could be rifling through. One way you can broaden your career possibilities and give you an advantage over the competition is by learning another language. Employers are always looking for candidates who can bring a unique edge to their company, and finding someone who’s bilingual could be exactly what catches their eye.

Here are the top 5 reasons to learn a second language:

#1 Make Yourself More Marketable

You might think that you’ve plateaued, but there is always more to learn and new things to experience. The best part about expanding your horizons is the confidence boost you’ll get, and learning a second language is just the thing to do that. If you ever decide to leave your job and try something that brings you more joy than shuffling papers in a cubicle all day, knowing a second language is an enviable skill that will greatly improve your chances of getting hired. Companies are always looking for people with language skills so they can expand their business and open the lines of communication with foreign clients, and you could be just what they’re looking for.

#2 Increase Your Global Understanding

Learning a new language puts you smack dab in the middle of that particular culture. One of the most rewarding aspects of life is allowing yourself to explore and expose yourself to cultures different from your own. Language is a huge part of a culture, and learning a second one will help you grow in ways you never imagined. Not to mention how rewarding it feels. The more understanding of a culture you have also means that you are more valuable to a company wishing to do business there.

#3 Sharpen Your Cognitive Ability

Nothing stimulates the brain more than a new challenge. Studies show that learning a second language can strengthen many other cognitive skills, and can increase higher order thinking skills, mental flexibility, problem solving skills and your mental reasoning abilities. In addition to that, knowing another language can enhance some important life skills because immersing yourself in another culture increases awareness and helps us cope and deal with stressful situations because we can view them with more perspective.

#4 Make Travel More Enjoyable

Even though it is very possible to go to another country and enjoy a wonderful vacation, travel becomes much more gratifying when you can immerse yourself in a culture without fear. Not being able to speak the language of the country you’re in can limit you to the surface experience reserved for tourists, without ever allowing you to feel like your soul is being nourished by another culture’s wonders. Travel will also be made easier and you’ll find yourself venturing out of your comfort zone and trying new things once you aren’t afraid to ask for directions, talk to natives, make hotel accommodations and even order a delicious meal at a restaurant in the language you’ve recently acquired.

#5 Make Lifelong Friends

Learning a second language dramatically increases the number of people on earth that you can communicate with. Whether it’s through travel, work or school, you will find that your life will become richer because of the relationships you can now make and keep through your new skills. Native speakers are very impressed and intrigued by anyone who took the time to learn their language, and are very eager to get to know the person behind it. Not only will you make more friends, but the connections you will make at work will help you and your career grow.

In my own career, I recently taught at a school in which there were many students who spoke little to no English. My ability to speak Arabic is what helped me connect to and help these students, and it got me noticed by my colleagues and boss. It felt great knowing I had an additional skill that could be the reason I get hired over another equally qualified peer, not to mention how awesome it felt to be able to connect to a student in a new way! Language is a very powerful tool, and learning a new one will improve your life and broaden your horizons in so many new ways. Give it a try by taking some language classes, or following a language acquisition program. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. You never know it could be start of a brand new and exciting career.

 

Image: istock

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