Puedes leer este artículo en español aquí.
According to many studies (I still have to come across one that says otherwise), learning a foreign language is one of the best things you can do for your intellect and that it is entirely beneficial. I will not talk about them. Instead, I'd like to go over 5 reasons why I think that is the case indeed. Of course, my approach is not scientific at all. Rather, it's personal and emotional. But hey, feelings surely count in our lives, don't they?
So here they are, in random order. Needless to say, there are plenty of other reasons why I believe that!
1. It will help you make new friends One of the first things I did when I just moved to Atlanta from Playa del Carmen was to sign up for a French course at Alliance Française. It was the best decision I could have ever made! Out of it, a solid friendship with two of my classmates was born which has only grown stronger with time, despite distance and life. Learning French would also eventually lead me to attending French meetups and even co-organizing one of them...and my network just kept on growing. A few of those connections became lasting friendships as well. See why I give learning French most of the credit for my awesome community in Atlanta?
2. It is challenging, but it is also fun! I still clearly remember my struggles with Portuguese the first time I visited Brazil when I was 15 years old. Yes, it was sometimes difficult to understand and to be understood, but the conversations I had with some cariocas in portuñol where just hilarious and what made that trip so memorable (aside from samba, caipirinha and Brazilians, that is). And then, once I started to actually be able to speak their language and communicate with them more comfortably, the feeling of accomplishment was just fantastic.
3. It will help you speak your own native language better This may not be the case for everyone, but bear in mind that I have a passion for linguistics. Learning other languages has oftentimes made me question my knowledge of Spanish and, in occasions, has even lead me to enrich my vocabulary and improve my understanding of certain norms and grammar rules. In other words, it's definitely a win-win situation.
4. It will take you to places Both, actually and figuratively. As part of my sabbatical, last year I spent 6 weeks in Montpellier, in the South of France. Why? Because I wanted to immerse in French culture, as a way to improve my fluency in the language. Now, along with the opportunity to visit the region and meet French people, I was also very lucky to have classmates from different parts of the world: South Korea, Indonesia, UK, Switzerland, India, etc., to name a few. Through them and the assignments the teachers gave us as part of our classes I made virtual trips to their countries and cultures. Learning French not only brought us all together but also sparked our curiosity to learn more about each other's cultures and countries.
5. It will make you more attractive and make you stand out in the crowd Who can resist a person that speaks several languages? Forget the looks or money, being a polyglot is among the top qualities that make a person a rockrstar. In my case, I not only find them super appealing but also I'm jealous of them. You can't blame me for feeling that way, can you? I am positive I'm not the only one. Or am I wrong?
If you've been thinking about studying a foreign language but you haven't started just yet, from my own experience I can tell you it's never too late! I hope the reasons mentioned above help you jump on it. Meanwhile, enjoy some of the photos I took during my immersion in the South of France last year.