Languages have been around for thousands of years, continually changing with the addition of new words and deletion of others. For a country that has such a diverse range of cultures you’d think that Australia would promote the study of languages in schools and universities. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. In order to bridge this language gap, it is very important to learn a second language at some stage in life and what’s better than studying a language at university.
Monash University offers a range of foreign languages that students from any faculty have the opportunity to study. Whether it’s German, Spanish or Indonesian, learning a new language brings a long list of advantages. Here are my top 5 reasons why you should consider studying a language at university this year.
- Benefits the brain
It has been shown through various studies that learning a second language enhances brain power. These studies have demonstrated improvements in both brain function and cognitive skills of bilingual speakers when compared to adults who speak one language.. Bilingual speakers also have demonstrated improvements in general intelligence, planning and decision making, as well as better memory, focus and concentration. Understanding a new language is one of the biggest challenges for your brain, so don’t forget that as you are learning new words or how to form a sentence, you are giving your brain a workout making it stronger and smarter each day.
- Increases career opportunities
We live in a globalised country as many companies in Australia are reaching out to overseas and communicating with people from all around the world. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the best person for a job, someone who is bilingual is more likely get preference as it shows a whole new area of expertise that will benefit globalised companies.
If you learn a foreign language it opens a new door of opportunities allowing you to travel to a new country and learn so much more about the language and culture. When you travel with the knowledge of a new language you don’t stand out as a typical tourist due to having an understanding of the language itself as well as your surroundings. By travelling to the country of the language you have learnt, you greatly improve both your listening and speaking skills. So for those students who are currently learning a foreign language, make sure you get involved in overseas exchanges or even living overseas for a period of time as it will definitely improve your abilities to speak another language as well as provide an unforgettable experience.
- Creating life long friendships
Traveling overseas with knowledge of another language makes it easier for you to interact with locals and in doing so, you can create life long friendships with people from all different cultures. By making friends with people overseas, you can regularly practice the language with them and further improve your speaking abilities beyond the classroom. From experience, learning a second language allowed me to create new friendships with people in Japan and Italy and these girls have now become some of my closest friends. Having friends who live all around the world is a benefit in itself as it gives you the best excuse to travel in order to visit them and then see the country or city not as a tourist but as a local, making the travel experience even more rewarding.
- Learning new languages is simpler
Once you have mastered one language, learning another language seems like a piece of cake. It is always simpler to learn a new language having already learnt one as you have already used the part of the brain responsible for language learning. Therefore each time you learn another language it just becomes easier as well as even more impressive than you can speak multiple languages.
As a linguistic and foreign language student, I have learnt that studying a language is easiest during your primary school life as this is your critical learning period when your brain is still developing. Yet as you grow older, it slowly becomes more and more difficult to learn new languages but it’s not at all impossible. So, don’t keep waiting to learn a new language. It may seem daunting at first but it is a really rewarding experience with endless amounts of benefits.