The Importance of Learning a Second Language
Learning a second language can open many doors in life. Increased job opportunities, richer traveling experiences, and cognitive benefits are just some of the perks that accompany language learning. Children who grow up in bilingual homes have the advantage of learning multiple languages from birth when language acquisition is the easiest. However, you can learn a new language at any age. The older you get, the harder it becomes to gain fluency in a new language so it’s essential to start studying languages as early as possible.
Children who learn a second language in school will graduate with an advantage over students who only speak one language. When looking for a school for your children, be sure to ask about their foreign language classes. Programs like Rosetta Stone allow students to study a language at school and at home with a computer or mobile device.
Here’s a breakdown of why it’s so important to study a second language.
Bilingual People Have More Job Opportunities
Adding a second language to your resume gives you a competitive edge in the job market. As businesses become increasingly globalized, companies look for people who can speak more than one language. Companies might need interpreters, translators, or employees who are willing to relocate to overseas offices. Additionally, speaking a second language can qualify you to work as a foreign service officer or a foreign journalist. On top of increased job opportunities, you’ll also find that multilingual speakers generally earn 5 - 20% more income than monolingual speakers.
Brain Health and Language Learning
The positive effects on brain health from learning more than one language have been well studied in cognitive science. Research shows that bilingual speakers generally have higher executive functioning skills, denser gray matter in the brain, and have more protection against the onset of dementia later in life (Anderson et al., 2017). Executive functioning skills help you manage your attention and ability to plan. For example, self-control, working memory, time management, and organization all fall under executive functioning skills. When you learn a second language, not only are you rewarded with linguistic capabilities, you are also exercising your brain in ways that will benefit you for a lifetime.
Traveling is Easier for Bilingual People
Going abroad helps you develop a global perspective, experience different cultures, and build empathy for others. If you’ve ever traveled to a country where you didn’t speak the local language, you know how difficult it can be to get around. Traveling to a country where you speak the language means you’ll meet more locals and experience more than just the tourist sights. If you happen to find yourself in an emergency situation while traveling, knowing how to speak the language will be a huge advantage and could even save your life.
Now that you understand more about the benefits of speaking a second language, let’s consider the stakes at school.
Second Language Learning at School
Although the research clearly shows how valuable learning a second language is, many US public schools don’t offer foreign language classes until students are in high school. High-quality schools understand the importance of learning a second language from a young age. That’s why the Varnett Public School uses Rosetta Stone to give their students a competitive advantage in life. Students who attend Varnett and their families have free access to the Rosetta Stone program which provides language instruction in all four areas of language: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Whether your child is learning English, Spanish, or another language, they get the support and encouragement they need at Varnett Public School.