The Benefits of Learning Another Language

Coming from a very small town in rural Indiana, learning a foreign language to me when younger seemed as foreign to me as the actual concept. I started taking French in high school simply because I was interested (and all of my friends were, too), but it wasn't until I got to American University and worked in international offices in DC that I realized the true significance behind learning another language. I’ve been reaping the benefits of learning more languages ever since then. Here are some things about learning another language that I’ve found personally helpful.

It serves as an excellent networking connection

I can no longer attempt to count the amount of times that I’ve gained a more substantial connection with an interviewer, new colleague, or just people at university from talking about languages we both speak--I’ve lost track! Knowing additional languages and sharing your story of how you came to learn them can serve as a great conversation starter, interview addition, or even lead to a date! Regardless of how well you speak the language, beginner, proficient or advanced levels, as long as you’re able to speak very basic phrases with an interviewer for example, you’re bound to make a further lasting impression that could come to your use when they’re deciding who gets the position that you are up for.

It comes in KEY when traveling abroad, no matter where you are!

When abroad, and especially during my time here in Europe, I’ve definitely used more languages than just English (my native) when asking for directions, assisting other travelers or simply in making new friends. Plus, it makes you look like a total boss when you’re the one navigating your group of friends around a new city with the help of the locals, all because you speak the same language as them. I find speaking another language (German, in my case) is helpful additionally in new cities, because as you meet younger people throughout the day, it’s much easier to talk to them in their language (mostly German, in my experiences), and then it’s possible to get to know them further or even hangout with them and their friends on vacation! Some of the greatest and most memorable experiences I’ve had in life are with friends I made while traveling.

Especially when you’re lost

If you’re also a fan of traveling, you know there’s almost nothing worse than when you’re lost, have no WiFi or internet, have a train or flight to catch soon, and can’t communicate well enough with the locals who could provide you with directions. It’s the worst. In these cases, taking the time to learn how to ask  “Where is _____” in the country’s language will provide you with the time-saving advice you need, and maybe even a personal escort there!

So there you have it, collegiettes. These were the top 3 advantages I've had with knowing two foreign languages so far. Download an app like Duolingo and get started on preparing for your next vacation soon! 

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