03 May, 2010

7 Reasons to Learn a New Language

Today I’ll give you seven good reasons to learn a new language:

1. To broaden your mind
“You live a new life for every new language you speak.” I’ve found this particular Czech proverb to be true for myself. Whenever I started learning a new language, it felt like I immersed myself in a new world. If you learn how other people are expressing things, you will know more about how they feel about them. Speaking their language will give you the ability to step inside the mind of another culture and understand it to a much greater extent than without speaking the language.

2. To improve employment potential
Learning a new language can be extremely beneficial for your career. Employees who speak only one language can only communicate with people who speak that same language. Speaking other languages will improve your chances of going on business trips, negotiating contracts or getting a job in the first place. Granted, you probably won’t get an instant raise or offered a better position when you start learning a new language. But it certainly won’t hurt your employability.

3. To appreciate international literature, music and film
Very early in my life I noticed that watching films in the original version is way better than watching the dubbed German versions. And never did I understand that one could possibly  argue against watching a film in its original form. I absolutely hate it when puns or cultural references get lost in translation or when the actors’ lips are out of sync. Most of this is true for literature and music as well. A translated text can never be fully true to the intent, style or uniqueness of its original. Music is almost never translated, so if you want to understand the lyrics you have to learn the language(s) used in the song.

4. To make travel more enjoyable
Learning the language of the country you’re traveling in can make your travel experience so much better. Granted, in most countries people speak English in tourist areas. However, if you want to go off the beaten path and experience a country as it really is, you must speak the language or your travel can become frustrating or even dangerous. 

5. To study abroad
If you plan to study abroad, you might want to learn the language of the country you’re planning to go to. Very often it is mandatory for taking courses and even if it’s not, it will make your stay so much more enjoyable. Any problems with housing, fees, deadlines etc. are less likely to appear if you speak the local language.

6. To make lifelong friends
Learning a foreign language can lead to long lasting friendships, whether it’s through meeting tandem partners or teachers, through establishing a connection with pen pals in another country, or whether talking to exchange students at university or even doing an exchange year yourself. People appreciate the effort you put into learning their language and they’ll let you know, at least that’s what I’ve experienced. The more exotic the language you’re learning, the more surprising and rewarding it is for natives that you’re actually interested in learning it. 

7. To have fun
Last but not least, learning a new language can be surprisingly fun. While fun is probably not the first reason you’ll think of when hearing the words “studying/learning”, it is one of the best reasons to learn a new language. After all, life should be about having fun. And learning a language outside of the classroom definitely is fun! It’s just not that easy so you’ll have to be able to stay motivated for a long time.
This list is by no means complete. Everyone has their own reasons to learn a language and that’s how it should be. Feel free to add more reasons by writing a comment.


  1. Hi Steve! It's great to know yor blog. I'm going to follow your blog now. I love languages too, and I would like to learn some others, like Italian and Japanese...
    anyway, if u want, you can visit my blog to practice your portuguese reading...

  2. Hi Daniel, delighted to hear from you. How have you been? I had a look at your blog, thanks for telling your readers about me. I understand everything you wrote but I could never create a sentence myself. It's a weird feeling ;)

    Infos about Italian and Japanese will follow soon, stay tuned! Would be glad if you learned it with me.

  3. This is a great post for me as i am a new language learner and i totally agreed with you all the seven reasons are right. Learning foreign languages is fun! It's super exciting to be able to communicate with people in other languages! It is a helpful article and I have bookmarked it so I can come back.
    Spanish school Costa Rica