The endless advantages of learning languages and travelling

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The endless advantages of learning languages and travelling

Natalie Kester

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Why bother learning languages? Why waste time travelling the world? These are questions that many people ask, but they may not know the numerous benefits of learning languages and travelling. Learning languages has been proven to strengthen skills in many areas, and travelling does the same. High school students and people in general should learn languages and try to travel abroad because languages help to broaden skills and give people a wider global perspective.

Most high schools offer language classes to students, but many high schoolers do not take advantage of these opportunities. What many students do not realize is that language classes can offer much more than just knowledge of the language. Learning new languages can open up, “the opportunity to engage with the world in a more immediate and meaningful way” (“10 Benefits of Learning a Second Language”). The benefits of languages also stretch beyond high school.

Knowing other languages can have an impact on future careers. When finding jobs, “language skills also lead to hiring bonuses and increased salaries” (“10 Benefits of Learning a Second Language”). This only goes to show how learning languages can have a lasting impact beyond just travel or school. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that the younger people begin to learn languages, the easier and more beneficial it will be. In a study done by the University of Harvard, they, “found that children benefit in many other ways from learning a second language earlier on” (Comben). While it is extremely beneficial for children to learn languages, anyone can reap the benefits of language skills at any time in their life.

Some people decide not to learn languages because they feel they are too old to get a good grasp of the language, but learning languages from any age has shown to be beneficial. Although children may be able to learn languages more quickly from a young age, “older learners did better on vocabulary tests and that life experience is also very valuable when making associations” (Comben). There are endless reasons to learn other languages, and there are also many ways to apple language skills.

A great way to hone language skills is by travelling abroad. Learning languages is extremely beneficial, but travelling and studying other countries is an excellent way to expand one’s skills and global outlook. Travelling abroad helps people to, “experience a brand-new country with incredible new outlooks, customs and activities” (“10 Benefits to Studying Abroad: Study Abroad Guide”). But many Americans choose not to travel.

In comparison to other areas of the world, Americans travel a lot less, which could lead to a narrow outlook on the world and less experience with other customs. Studies have shown that, “Americans are half as likely as Europeans to go abroad and visit more than one country,” and “about 71 percent of Americans say it’s too expensive to leave the country” (Alton). While travelling may be expensive and not necessarily an option for some people, it is still important to learn other languages and study other cultures to open up global outlook. But the benefits of travel can go further than skills and outlooks.

Not only does travelling and learning new languages have intellectual benefits, it also has benefits to physical health. Studies have shown that, “men who do not take an annual vacation show a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent greater risk of heart disease,” (Alton), and the same is true for women. Besides expanding language skills, learning about new cultures, and simply having fun, travelling actually has proven health benefits. Travelling and learning languages have endless advantages.

There are many school subjects that can help to strengthen an array of skills, but none do so quite like languages. Languages and travelling abroad have a great amount of benefits in social skills, academics, and overall health. Learning languages can go beyond school; they can affect social life, skills, and possibly even future careers. So the only question that remains is: why not learn a language and travel abroad?

 

“10 Benefits of Learning a Second Language.” Lead with Languages, www.leadwithlanguages.org/why-learn-languages/top-ten-reasons-to-learn-languages/.

“10 Benefits to Studying Abroad: Study Abroad Guide.” International Student, www.internationalstudent.com/study-abroad/guide/ten-benefits-to-studying-abroad/.

Alton, Larry. “5 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Traveling Abroad.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 19 May 2017, www.nbcnews.com/better/wellness/5-scientifically-proven-health-benefits-traveling-abroad-n759631.

Comben, Christina. “What’s The Best Age to Start Learning a Second Language?” Day Translations Blog, 17 Dec. 2019, www.daytranslations.com/blog/age-for-second-language/.