Schools Training

Why Study a Foreign Language? Multi-lingual Learning for Students

12 FEB 2014

Have you always imagined that you would master several languages and spend time abroad, yet have struggled through learning even the most basic sentences in your chosen language?  It wasn’t because you’re just not good with languages. It’s most likely that you weren’t using a study method that matched your learning style, or you weren’t devoting enough time to studying that new language.

Why Study Another Language?

There have been many studies that show that learning a new language will improve your long term mental health and will also improve your career aspects. Consider this: according to the Canadian Council on Learning, Canadians who speak both official languages have a median income nearly 10% higher than that of those who speak English only, and 40% higher than that of those who speak French only.

Also consider that learning a new language opens many doors, as the world become increasingly smaller and with greater mobility and travel, learning another language is a great way to learn about another culture and way of life. Studies have even shown that bilingual individuals are more creative and better at planning and solving complex problems than monolinguals. Reason enough to start learning that language that you’ve always wanted to!

How Do I Become Multi-lingual or Even Bilingual?

Many students lose motivation when they try to learn a language once they realize that acquiring the new language is taking longer than they’d hoped or because native speakers are have difficulty understanding them. Though don’t lose hope; it may take years to truly become fluent at speaking a language. It takes steady progress and a lot of effort in order to reach the stage where you feel completely at ease using a new language. As well, in an increasingly globalized world, speaking more than one language will set you a part in the job market, particularly if you want to work for a multinational company.

If you are interested in learning a new language, check out a few ways to help you learn a second (or even third) language:

Set realistic expectations. If you’re an absolute beginner start off by learning basic phrases as well as a vocabulary of the 100 most common words. The more words that you can say, the more you’ll be able to communicate, even if you can’t say everything perfectly. If you start off with complicated phrases and language structure, chances are you’ll lose your motivation for studying that language due to the level of difficulty.

Use it or lose it.  Regular practice and review is essential in gaining and building on new language skills. Whether you can only devote 30 minutes a day to working on your language skills or want to spend your free time doing a language exchange with a native speaker, regular practice is what will increase your fluency in a new language. Check out your college directory or school news to find listings for language exchanges. There are most likely many international students who are interested in practicing with a native speaker.

Have fun! Learning a new language is so much more than attending classes and learning to conjugate verbs. Devote some of your daily language learning time to fun activities like watching movies without the subtitles, listening to podcasts, or even reading educational articles about the culture of the language you want to improve in. Learning a new language through fun activities is what will keep you feeling motivated and wanting to continue.