Why you should learn a foreign language | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 14, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, December 14, 2018

Why you should learn a foreign language

According to research, bilingual people tend to be rational decision makers, perceptive thinkers and excellent multi-taskers. This is a great advantage for Bangladeshis since most of us are either proficient or working to be proficient in both Bangla and English. However, in the modern world, it is quintessential to learn a foreign language that is not just spoken by the largest number of people, but also across the largest number of countries. As such, Mandarin, French, Spanish and German have repeatedly made it to various lists of must-learn foreign languages. Learning a language isn't easy, but today, with the plethora of easily available resources, it is worth setting aside time and energy to learn a new language for the following reasons -

Strengthen your corporate network

Without a shadow of doubt, a new language will help you reach out to more people. A person will trust somebody who speaks their language over somebody who doesn't. By overcoming language barriers, a foreign language will essentially amplify your network of important contacts. The learning of a language isn't restricted to the verbal delivery of it and always involves a deeper understanding of the culture of the country of its origin. Thus learning a language helps you understand the cultural norms, mannerisms, etiquette and customs of those who speak the language. This will significantly boost your business prospects in a foreign land.

Establish cross-cultural friendships

On visiting foreign lands, I've often found myself getting melancholic at the idea of missing out on the opportunity of truly knowing some interesting people and hence missing out on what could be a genuine cultural encounter. The experience of visiting a country becomes entirely different when you know the language. Not just that, it's always going to be a rewarding learning experience to get an outsider's perspective about your culture. This will kindle a kind of friendship and understanding that isn't possible without a common tongue. The experience will make you considerably more perceptive.

Boost your creativity

When speaking a newly learned language, you will often stumble for words. Being unable to remember the original word or phrase, you will intuitively look for alternates in order to correctly express yourself. This leaves a great impact on your mind and trains you to provide multiple solutions to a single problem. It substantially improves your thinking abilities and helps you solve problems more creatively and logically.

Once you've learned one foreign language, learning another becomes faster and easier. This is called “metalinguistic awareness," the ability to process linguistic configurations, retain muscle memory and ultimately execute and transfer linguistic knowledge. Start learning a new language and unearth a surfeit of possibilities across the world. 


Adiba Arif is starting her senior year at university in a month, but is yet to decide on a major. Reach her at adibaarif.3@gmail.com to help her figure it out.

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