From the experience of travelling abroad to the sense of achievement that speaking a foreign language can bring, language skills offer a number of personal benefits that can enrich your life and leisure time.
Furthermore, the range of post-formal education language learning opportunities means that these benefits are accessible to all. Through classes or self-study, language learning is convenient and affordable, and can be a lifelong pleasure.
Travel has become significantly cheaper and quicker, meaning it is no longer a privilege for the few, but is open to many. Foreign languages can increase the ease and enjoyment of travel.
Understanding even a small portion of the local language makes it easier to make practical arrangements and discover local attractions, customs and history. Multilingual travellers can find out about current local issues and other information that monolingual tourists might miss.
Language training has been shown to be a good mental exercise for its own sake. Learning to think in a different language develops connections in the brain that help to improve and maintain cognitive skills and memory. This can improve one’s quality of life and even help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
Learning foreign languages can also improve appreciation and use of one’s own language through the development of greater language awareness.
Sense of achievement
Not least, there is a huge sense of achievement in being able to communicate in a foreign tongue. The first time you manage to do something as simple as order a coffee in a different language, it gives a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. There is also the prospect of accessing a language’s rich literary heritage and the satisfaction and enjoyment that can bring.