Be Multilingual – or at least Bilingual

“Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.” – Dave Barry

Americans tend to be “U.S.-Centric.” We like to think that we have it best, that we are the dominant world player, and all others need to conform to the U.S. … that we are the center of it all. Despite this centrist attitude, there are tremendous benefits in developing a level of fluency in a language besides English.

 By learning another language …

analytical skills increase; problem solving skills improve; creativity increases; listening and memory skills are enhanced; and even Math and English skills improve … through the learning of a new language!

["Why Bilinguals are Smarter" by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, New York Times]

 Foreign language learning …

fosters a deeper understanding of our steadily shrinking global world; breaks down barriers between cultures and improves understanding between people — skills desperately needed in our world(!) 

 Foreign language skills provide a competitive edge in a career choice, and in the job market.  

“Any hiring manager in any company in the world would tell you that the ability to speak a foreign language is a prized commodity. Learning to communicate fluently in multiple languages provides additional job security and advancement opportunities in uncertain economic times.” – Leonardo De Valoes

 Using a Foreign Language provides a distinct advantage in the global business and marketing worlds. More and more companies work globally and need employees with skills to understand another culture and communicate in another language.

 Foreign languages open doors of insight and nuance to art, music, dance, cuisine, film, science, engineering, environmental studies, …

Learning a new language is much more than learning grammar and vocabulary. It’s about building bridges of culture and understanding; about realizing perspectives; about honest reflections of ourselves and our relationships with others; about evaluating our own culture and developing connection with others.

Learning a new language can be invigorating and tedious; challenging and highly rewarding — all at the same time.

Learning a new language — Is it easy? Not always. Is it worth it? Definitely!!

(sources: Omniglot, Auburn University, Washington State University, Leonardo De Valeos, New York Times )

Tim LaCroix,
German Teacher