Why I am so glad that I learned Spanish.
I wrote about some mistakes I made when I first started learning Spanish. Now I want to go over six reasons why I love knowing a second language.
Time after time, it has been proven that learning a second language is good for your brain (Google “Second language mental health” if you’re interested in learning more, you will find over 8 million results!)
Not only does it improve brain function, many people going as far as to say that being bilingual makes one better at standardized tests and more concise with their words (I’m still waiting on the whole being concise thing.) Some studies even suggest that later on in life, being bilingual may help delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Being bilingual is awesome. It impresses both the people who know you and the people with whom you are speaking. It is also very practical to be bilingual, as you will never be obligated to pay (or at the very least seek out,) a translator.
No matter what your profession is in life, no matter where you are right now, it’s always good to be able to speak with others. Being bilingual is simply another tool in the conversation toolbox.
Learning a language has made it easier to learn other concepts as well. It is so powerful to be able to synthesize all that you’ve learned and studied, and then be able to apply it to your daily life. Once you learn how to do it with a second language, you’ll have the basic framework of how to learn a third language, or an instrument, or a new sport. Many of the tools and techniques that you use to learn a new language can transfer over to different areas of your life.
Also, once you are able to communicate clearly in another language, you are opening yourself up to new experiences and new cultures. My life has been so enriched by being a part of another culture. I have been able to truly live the Mexico experience because I have been able to communicate with and live alongside and learn from amazing men and women. I literally found the love of my life, my wife, because I was able to speak a second language! (Also, like I previously mentioned… Tacos.)
Interestingly enough, understanding another language makes it easier to understand one’s native tongue as well. There are rules that I always assumed in English, but as I learned about those same (or similar) rules in Spanish, I had a greater understand and appreciation for the English language as well.
I think this circles back to practicality, and how useful it is to learn another language.
One never learns in a vacuum. As you increase your skills in one area, different areas in your life (both obvious and otherwise,) will begin to improve. Your second language will improve your first language, and also your memory. Your improved memory will help with your vocabulary, etc.
You are going to meet amazing people.
No matter which country you visit, no matter your purpose for said visit, you will meet amazing people. You will want to remain in contact with these people as well. Being able to communicate, and not needing to rely on a translating website is key to having meaningful connections and conversations. With how prevalent social media has become, being able to understand what your new friends are posting online will make staying in contact that much easier.
As I said before, I am married now to an amazing woman, expecting my first child, because I learned another language. Now, I’m not expecting everyone who reads this to end up married, but maybe it’s a friendship, or a business partnership.
Being bilingual will enable so many new relationships.
This one might not apply to everyone, but as I live in Mexico, I find that speaking the language is a way to honor the people who live here. Most people here wouldn’t expect every foreigner to speak Spanish, but learning the language is a way of honoring the people here.
I really enjoy surprising people when I am able to speak Spanish. So often people come up to me and speak to me in English, and I’m able to respond to them in their native language! Sometimes they want to speak English, which is fine, but there are other times where I can see the relief on their faces when they find out that I speak Spanish.
I love speaking Spanish because I have been called to work at a church where Spanish is the main language spoken. Speaking Spanish, and being part of the team of amazing people in La Fuente Riviera (my church,) has been such an amazing blessing for me!
I have grown so much both spiritually, emotionally, professionally, all because of the fact that I can speak the necessary language to serve in my church. Not being able to speak the language, for me, would be horrible!
This is the second post in a series of articles that I’ve been writing. If you want to read my first post, where I talk about how I almost didn’t learn Spanish, please click here! And if you want to read the next one, click the link below!