“I’d love to speak another language but…”
How many times have you caught yourself saying that exact sentence? Then shortly after, usually tied with a “I have no time”, “its too late to learn another language”, “I’m not good at it” and so many more. Honestly, I have heard all the excuses in the book. What most people do not realize is you can incorporate it into your daily lives without adding another item on your to-do list. Time is a funny thing. We all generally have the same amount daily but how we delegate our time. You can tell what some people value by what they do in their time.
The other statements such as it being too late, or having no opportunity is anything but true. I have compiled a list toward the end of this blog of how to incorporate languages into your lives. But first, there needs to be a clear explanation as to why a person would want to spend time learning a language anyway.
I know numbers and statistics are the last things you want to read about, however, it is important that we all understand how we can benefit from foreign languages in order to be more motivated as to why we should put in the effort in the first place.
From personal experience just by working at Starbucks there were about 5 instances where either a Taiwanese or Hispanic customer came in and didn’t know English and luckily I was working most of those times or at least there studying and was able to help my co-workers and the customer out. Then it was just amazing how much their faces lit up as I gave those people are chance to feel at home! Another major thing I learned from these experiences is that no matter what your political views are, especially with the upcoming election it all comes down to seeing the other person as a human being. I have friends all throughout the political spectrum, and even though we do not see eye to eye on some things we share the fundamental essence of what it means to be a human being.
Future of the United States
According to the Pew Research Center, there are more than 37 million speakers. Spanish is by far the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. today among people ages 5 and older. It is also one of the fastest-growing, with the number of speakers up 233% since 1980, when there were 11 million Spanish speakers. This rapid increase is due to the increase in immigration.
The next category in which I would like to provide some insight through personal knowledge and a few Statistics is how foreign languages help with your career endeavors. According to College Board, sponsor of the SAT exams, for each additional foreign language you are proficient or advanced in- it adds at least 10,000 per language to your overall salary, no matter the industry.
Recently I had the honor to present at a national conference, (even though I was so terrified) and got to share some knowledge on Transformational Leadership and elements that organizations value in any potential next employee. The number one answer? Global sensitivity and intelligence. Possessing this skill will definitely help you stand out as well as become a better worker and person in life.
Obvious career opportunities include, paid traveling, translation opportunities, and a larger job selection. All of these entities will definitely set you apart among your competition and you will be in charge of the work and salary that you will be making and doing.
One last quick benefit of knowing another language will not only just keep you culturally inclined, however, it has many cognitive health benefits as well. Research shows that by knowing more than one language it extremely reduces the possibility for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, memory loss, and can actually help you recover from a concussion faster. The reason to this is because the part of the brain that processes language has the capacity to much like the rest of the brain physically grow.
Image Credit: Pinterest
Now that you are aware of some of the benefits, let’s talk about how to incorporate a little bit for time for language.
1. Take classes
Here at SVC the language department offers German, French, Spanish and Chinese, or you can take other language classes at WCCC, as well as going to another local University such as Seton Hill to learn languages such as Arabic.
2. Apps on your Phone
Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and so many other apps are available for download and most of them are free! If you find yourself on Twitter and keep scrolling through the same things over and over again, why don’t you try and use this to time to learn some basic phrases in a foreign language.
3. Study Abroad
When I first thought about studying abroad never did I realize that I would be studying abroad after my first semester as a freshman, or paying less than $200 to go to Taipei, Taiwan which originally costs about $3,000. Saint Vincent is so good with offering places to study for a short term to see if you enjoy it before you spend your money. I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have the money to do that. Well, if you want it bad enough there are ways to get the money. I actually won 3,000 to go to Taiwan from a scholarship essay! So there’s so many options to receive funding alternatively.
4. Movies and Music
There’s so many different shows and movies on Netflix and all you need are the subtitles! I’ll make a list of movies and TV shows for you to check out. Netflix is definitely not the only tool to help you learn spanish. You might be noticing that current pop and hip-hop has some Spanish incorporated . Everyone has their different tastes in music so I’ll provide some Latino rock, alternative, pop and hip hop for you to listen to! This is one of the easiest and best ways to learn a language because just like new songs in English you begin to remember the lyrics and after a few times of listening can sing the whole song! This is the same kind of concept. I’m mainly focusing on Hispanic music and shows because these are the ones that I am used to but for any other language there probably are some awesome movies and music to listen to.
Available on Netflix:
- Elite: similar to Riverdale, but a crazy plot twist that will have you so addicted.
- El Internado: a little older like from 2010, but it is such a good mystery show with crazy elements of the Holocaust as teens find secrets to the history of their boarding school.
- Cable Girls: this is my personal favorite and has characteristics of feminism, womanhood, power, romance, royalty, mystery and all during the 20’s.
- The Spanish Affair 1 and 2: first of all the title of these movies aren’t even close to what they are in Spanish which is funny, but these are a must if you want a good romantic comedy.
- Money Heist: I am currently binge watching this and it’s so good it’s obviously about a money heist, but there’s much more than that.
- Narcos: a story of Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord.
- EL ORFANATO: a little scary, mystery (one of my favorites)
- Calle 13: scary/supernatural
- También La Lluvia
- Maria Full of Grace: movie about reality of drug mules
- Debajo de la misma Luna: about illegal immigration and humanity
- Mar Adentro
- Ahora o nunca: romantic comedy
- Julieta: a love story
- The Faun’s Labyrinth: WW2 and fantasy
There’s too many amazing songs to name but here are some of my fav artists for different genres
- Bad Bunny
- J Balvin
- Ozuna I
- Becky G
- Daddy Yankee
- Alvaro Soler
I hope this helps and inspires you to learn a new language!