Everyone wants to be the best version of themselves, but how do we do it and where do we begin? It turns out learning a new language could be a powerful first step towards self-improvement. In the same way that traveling opens our minds and hearts, learning a new language has the potential to make you a more empathetic, observant, and overall better person.
Don’t just take our word for it; in recent years, scientists have focused on the benefits of foreign language acquisition and suggested that learning a new language can open up different aspects of your personality and improve your character in a variety of ways. Read on to discover how learning a new language will transform who you are, and bring out the very best parts of you.
Language Acquisition for a Kinder World
You’ll Boost Your Intercultural Kindness: Is there any better way to understand another culture than by learning its language? A culture’s language reflects the values, traditions, and history of its people. While it’s true that English is now the world’s lingua franca, being able to communicate in a country’s national language will set you apart from the average tourist, and make you more empathetic in the process.
Many studies, dating as far back as the 1970s demonstrate that both speaking and being exposed to a foreign language makes it easier for learners to take on different perspectives and in turn, become more tolerant of cultural differences.
Learning a new language is humbling. Think about the first time you tried to learn Spanish or master some French vocabulary; chances are you tripped over your words, struggled with a mispronunciation, and consulted Google translate more than you care to admit. While you might look back at that learning experience as embarrassing, you were building essential social skills and making yourself a more understanding person.
Prejudice against non-native English speakers in the United States is an issue that has persisted for centuries. The next time you see somebody working their way through broken English, draw upon your own language learning experience; you’ll be able to understand the challenges of others and empathize with those who deserve more appreciation for their efforts.
Learning a New Language Makes You More Dynamic
You’ll Become Better Multi-Tasker: Multi-tasking is a skill that comes in handy both at work and at home. Maybe you’re a teacher who needs to discipline a child while also teaching a lesson, or you find yourself struggling to talk on the phone while also cooking dinner. While learning a second language won’t make you a multi-tasking master overnight, it can help you build the necessary skills to take on multiple challenges at once.
- A recent study by cognitive neuroscientist Ellen Bialystok focused on the impact of bilingualism on multitasking. Her study measured the multi-tasking abilities of monolingual and multilingual participants using a driving simulator and cell phones.
- The study showed that the multilingual participants’ driving was less impacted by performing other tasks, such as talking on the cell phone or texting, than the monolingual drivers. Even if you speak 20 languages, don’t try this at home!
You’ll Become A Better Listener and Observer: Listening is more than just hearing; excelling in a language immersion class requires you to keep your eyes and ears open at all times. Oftentimes, a simple gesture can contextualize a sentence and shed light on what the speaker is trying to articulate.
How can you tell if the teacher is asking you a question if you don’t make eye contact with them, or understand the tone of a fellow student if you don’t pick up on their body language? When learning a foreign language, we inherently develop skills that make us more observant to understand the situation we are in.
Don’t underestimate the importance of listening. Being a good listener is an essential social skill that will help you in both your personal and professional endeavors; many of the world’s greatest leaders and business professionals are known for being active and careful listeners. Start building your skills today by learning a new language!
Discovering Your Creative Side Through Foreign Language Acquisition
You’ll Become More Creative: Think about the last time you were desperately trying to express something in a foreign language; did you use your hands, your facial expressions, or maybe even a nearby prop to get your point across? If so, you engaged in a creative practice without even knowing it! Learning how to build sentences and communicate clearly in another language pushes us to explore creative new ways of expressing ourselves and our ideas.
A recent Canadian study used the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) to assess whether bilinguals were more creative than monolinguals. TTCT is designed to assess flexibility, fluency, originality, and elaboration. The results suggested that bilingual people were more creative and better at things like storytelling and conveying abstract ideas.
Speaking a foreign language as a beginner is similar to putting on an improvised performance; you read your surroundings, pick up on the tone of the situation and build off of what your peers are saying. Even if you aren’t interested in theater, being able to improvise will help you navigate difficult scenarios, stay positive, and make the best out of any situation, whether at home or abroad.
TruFluency is Here to Help You Be Your Best
Focusing on your personal growth is anything but selfish; being the best version of yourself will make your life and the lives of those around you better. Learning a new language is the perfect way to explore your potential and engage with the world more mindfully than before. While learning a foreign language can be daunting, TruFluency is here to support you on your journey. Our conversation-based, teacher-led classes will encourage you to start speaking and work through mistakes with an instructor in real-time. Ready to become your best self yet? Choose a teacher and get started today!