Speaking a foreign language not only gives you a competitive edge on a global market and gives you access to better job opportunities and higher pay. It also helps slow down the aging process of your brain and allows you to make the best decisions and find creative solutions to problems.
Here are just a few reasons why studying a foreign language is a worthy investment.
Better Job Opportunities
Knowing a foreign language will make you stand out on the competitive global job market in many industries. For example international corporations in tech and auto industries have a high demand for specialists speaking Asian languages, like Chinese and Japanese. Business and law also have a steady demand for foreign language speakers.
Interpreters and translators are among the top 5 fastest growing occupations in the United States, in high demand for a range of industries – from international corporations to medicine, from video games to sciences.
Have you wondered how much the investment of time into learning a foreign language is actually worth? Freakonomic and The Economist have an answer:the earning bonus for someone who knows more than one language averages about 2%, depending on the language.
This may not seem like a lot, but a lifetime compound adds up to about $70,000 extra savings over the course of your career ($128,000 for German, with the highest rate of return).
Learning a foreign language keeps your brain healthy longer. It protects against Alzheimer’s and dementia: even people who started learning a foreign language later in life were affected with these diseases later than monolinguals. People who speak a foreign language also have a better memory and attention span – because of the ability to switch between languages.
According to a New Yorker piece, bilinguals are also better at task switching, more creative and have other cognitive advantages, like being able to make better decisions. Thinking in a foreign language slows down your automatic thinking, lets you focus better on long term outcomes and also boosts your creativity. A foreign language gives you access to different metaphors, different frames and cultural knowledge.
New places, people and experiences
Knowing a foreign language also means you get to experience travel differently. You can access places that could otherwise go unseen. You can meet people different from you that you never would have imagined meeting. Most importantly, you can discover something new about your culture, your country and yourself in the process.