Learning a language used to feel more like a chore than a hobby. In school it was simply an hour a week, learning the same basic vocab, as part of the same dull curriculum.
Now, however, learning languages is a passion of mine. I’m studying both Spanish and French at university, and I’m hoping to learn more languages in the future. In this post, I’m going to talk about four of the reasons why I love learning languages (and why you should too)!
As cliched as it is, travelling is number one on my bucket list. Explore more of the world, learn about new cultures, traditions, try new food, music, literature – everything.
Of course, it’s easy to get away with knowing the basics of a language when travelling – Ciao, Gracias, Au revoir – and many travellers still have the most amazing time just by knowing this.
However, knowing another language is sure to enhance experiences in new countries. Having a proficient knowledge of Spanish, for example, means I can talk to locals, ask them for the best tapas restaurants, and as a whole, understand more of their culture.
Knowing a language makes countless aspects of travelling easier: reading a map, asking for transport information, searching for café recommendations. So, having a firm grasp of the local language will overall enrich any travelling experience.
With learning a new language comes a whole new culture of food, music, literature, cinema, etc. Travelling to another country and knowing another language raises your cultural awareness and lets you truly immerse yourself in their culture.
In October I’m flying out to Madrid to spend 9 months in a Spanish school teaching English. While I’m absolutely terrified, I can’t wait to learn more about their culture and become one step closer to achieving fluency.
While yes I’m completely clueless as to which career path to take once I’ve finished uni, having a knowledge of languages improves my employability.
Is working abroad something that interests you? Having proficient knowledge of a language will make your integration into the country 10x easier. For me, opportunities such as teaching English as a foreign language, working as a literary translator or combining two of my hobbies and becoming a travel writer spark my interest and are made possible having studied languages.
Learning a language has been shown to broaden employment prospects. Being able to deal with international clients is a boost to any company. However, it is a skill not enough of us have. You don’t need to be fluent in a second-tongue to boost your chances in the job market. If you simply have conversational abilities, this will be beneficial in deepening cultural understanding and reaching out to international clients and partners.
Understand other languages
For instance, although I haven’t studied Italian, its similar Latin roots to Spanish helped me skim their delicious sounding menus and pick out the odd word when Italian TV was on. I was even able to navigate the Italian Sephora website purely due to the words looking similar to the Spanish. So, that makes food and makeup buying that bit easier – priorities sorted.
This shows how by learning just one language, we can gain some understanding of other languages without even realising it. My knowledge of Spanish definitely came in handy during my time in Rome!
I’m well aware I sound like the biggest language nerd, but learning a language is something I enjoy!
I can read things which aren’t available in English such as French bloggers and Spanish books without the need for a nuanced translation. I can binge watch Netflix series without relying on subtitles (La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) and Dix pour cent (Call my Agent!) are amazing). I can do so much more thanks to my study of languages.
Learning a language doesn’t have to be as boring as sitting in a classroom reciting the French numbers from 1-10. You can learn from reading, watching TV, using apps, even scrolling through your Twitter feed. By interweaving it into your daily life, learning a language becomes less of a chore.
It has never been easier to learn another language – any language you want is in your pocket. The number of apps, podcasts and other online learning resources available today is something language students 20 years ago would envy.
The next language I want to learn? Japanese. The writing system is something that both fascinates and terrifies me. But, it is a dream of mine to travel to Japan. I hope to have grasped the basics of the language in the next couple of years.
While this may be the nerdiest blog post to date, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and feel inspired to learn a new language. When I move to Madrid I’m hoping to start a new series following my time there and tracking how much my Spanish improves as I go. So, stay tuned!
*If you’re feeling inspired, below I have linked to a couple of useful resources to start your language learning.
What’s one language you’ve always wanted to learn?
Until the next post,
Duolingo – a great website/app which guides you through the basics of the language you’re studying.
Memrise – perfect for learning new vocab.
HelloTalk – talk to native speakers from around the world and receive corrections along the way.