Benefits of learning a third language

As a Malaysian, most of us has already mastered two languages in hand (for me a Malay: Bahasa Melayu and English). Right after I graduated high school, I was sent to a language centre to learn French. When I entered my degree life in a local university, I took up Mandarin to fulfill my course requirement in taking up a third language. Hence now, I have 4 languages in hand (although both my French and Mandarin is a little bit rusty because I rarely practiced them).

Here are 10 benefits of learning a third language by The Interculturalist:

  1. It makes you stand out. Whether you’re applying for a job, entrance to a school, a study abroad program, a fellowship, etc. listing foreign language knowledge on your resume grabs the reader’s attention and sets you apart. Getting noticed can open the door enough for you to slip in and expand on your other skills.

  2. It makes it easier to learn a second or third language. After you’ve mastered another language, learning the next one is simpler. If you speak a language that your employer, for example, doesn’t need, chances are you could easily learn the one they want.

  3. It says something positive about you. Learning a language can be difficult and time-consuming. Many people start to learn but give up when it becomes challenging. The fact that you’ve mastered a language shows you have determination, are committed to accomplishing goals you set yourself, and are reliable and hard-working.

  4. It allows communication with more people. Not everyone in the world speaks your native language. By speaking another language, you can automatically connect with people you never could have interacted with before. The means friends and relationships you never would have experienced otherwise.

  5. It increases advancement opportunities. If the company you work for plans to expand into another country, needs someone to travel abroad for business or deal with a client who doesn’t speak English, you may be the one picked because of your language skills. You’ll have more opportunities to show your employer just how useful you are and become a priceless commodity.

  6. It increases your job opportunities. If you’re looking for a job, the places you can work expands with each language you speak. Certain languages like French and Spanish are widely spoken all over the world. If you can’t find a job in your own country, start looking abroad.

  7. It makes traveling easier. Speaking the language of a country means the people respond to you more positively, you know how to ask for what you want and what to do in an emergency.

  8. It can extend your life. The physiological benefits of learning a language have been documented for some time. Many agree that it keeps your brain sharp, improves your memory and even helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

  9. It demonstrates you have a wide range of skills. In addition to your core skill as an engineer, attorney or doctor, for example, you bring a little extra. You’re not just a “one trick pony.”

  10. It promotes understanding of another culture. When you learn a language you also learn a little bit about the people who speak it, how they think and live their lives. Exposure to diversity and acceptance of differences are vital skills that can benefit anyone, no matter what their line of work.