There are so many benefits to knowing a second language. The most obvious ones spring to mind first; travelling, understanding other cultures, enjoying films, books, music from dif- ferent countries, intercultural understanding etc. Learning additional languages enables learners to engage with people of diverse cultures in ways that recognise differences and create cultural understanding. Language is inseparable from ways of knowing the world and involves connecting, engaging, and interacting with others and negotiating boundaries.
There are many advantages which are less obvious.
Knowing two languages can give you all-round intellectual benefits. Being multilingual improves school performance and increases overall problem-solving skills. Research also suggests bilingual children are more creative than monolingual speakers and score higher on academic tests.
“Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter.”
Being multilingual is a plus on both college admission applications and job applications as well. Top universities really rate A levels in foreign languages, which appear on university “A lists” of subjects. For example, at Trinity College, Cambridge a whopping 11 of the 25 subjects on their A list are languages.
After your studies you could well earn more money too if you are bilingual. To find and keep valuable bilingual workers, employers are willing to pay larger sums of money. On average, bilingual pay differentials range between 5 and 20 percent per hour more than the position's base rate, according to research. Being bilingual can actually help your health too! Further research shows that the regular use of two languages appears to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
With all of these benefits available, the question shouldn’t be “why should I learn a second language?”, rather it should be “can I afford not to learn another language?”