Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Top 10 Reasons to Learn a Language in Your Lifetime

I cannot emphasize enough how much learning languages has changed my life, and how it can to yours as well. I speak a total of 4 languages (of course not all fluent), but I speak English (native), Spanish (advanced), Italian (intermediate) and Portuguese (basic). It started from a young age, it is compulsory for a certain time in school to learn a language, and my school it was Spanish. I loved it anyway, but my Granddad Ron was the only person in my family who I knew spoke Spanish. He always encouraged me to keep up Spanish, he always talked to me in Spanish from the age of 6 until he passed away. I have always had that passion, and always want to improve my languages so I hope he is proud of me!
There are so many reasons to learn a language, you may surprise yourself with how much you love it! The UK is such a multi-cultural country which is what makes us so great and I love meeting people from different countries and speaking to them in English and their native language. Also, if you want to go traveling I always say there are 2 key words to learn in each language “hello, cheers and thank you”. However, you can learn however many you like! Keep reading for the top reasons to learn a language.

1 – Challenge Yourself
It is coming up to the New Year, so why not give a new language a go to challenge yourself as a New Years Resolution? I have always been a fan of self-development, and the more people I speak to it is the same for them as well. If you are thinking about learning a language, but not sure if you will be able to do it or think you are alone in doing it … DO IT ANYWAY. What is stopping you other than your own worries? There are plenty of free platforms to use so you won’t lose any money over it. If you challenge yourself to learning 5 words a week and remember them the next week, you will surprise yourself.

If you surprise yourself, that will motivate you to keep going. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to remember a word, after forgetting it or getting it wrong the past 3652653 times. It keeps me motivated to keep practising every day. Yes it is challenging at times, but you find new ways to learn that is fun and that will keep you inspired. Without challenges in life, life would be very boring and who wants to be bored every day? I sure don’t!
2- Learn a New Skill

I am not one of those people who enjoy doing sports, arts or anything typical of a hobby you would see on a CV. So, I am lucky that my skill of knowing languages is something that I enjoy. I personally think that it stands out if you say it is a new personal skill and hobby. It shows dedication to an activity that is different to the normal hobby and allows you to develop your education and mindset. A big reason why it is a reason to learn a language is that you never know where that skill will lead you, say if you know good … let’s go with Dutch, and a Dutch person needs help but doesn’t know English (or your native language) you can help that person.
For me, I love my language skills because I always felt like the black sheep of the family. (My family know this before anyone thinks it is mean). I was always so shy, but when I became more confident I wanted something to be proud of to talk about. Then I had Barcelona to talk about for a year, when I came home I was so nervous because what would I talk about? During fourth year of uni, all I had to talk about was dissertation and I did not want to talk about it. I unfortunately had a bit of a messy time with friends and didn’t talk about it and I didn’t have a job for 3-4 months so felt like a mess. However, I always had my languages that I could talk about and I am the only one in my family that can speak multiple languages. I am not proud of it just because I know more languages but because I can teach others and spread my passion. It is what part of what makes me, me.
3 – Makes You More Employable
I also hated this point when I went to open days at college and teachers were telling me why to learn a language, because I didn’t do it just to make money from it. However, it is very true that one of the main things that I get asked about in interviews, isn’t my actual degree it is the languages that I speak. It can give you so may opportunities, for me I got to work in an International school, live in Barcelona and something else which I can’t wait to reveal. There are so many opportunities from speaking languages when it comes to having a job.
One option is moving abroad to speak your native language for numerous job roles or to speak that countries language and do jobs like Au-Pair. My job in Spain was an English Speaking role, however I did get a chance to speak Spanish in the job and I spoke only Spanish out of the office. Another option is being a teacher of that language in a school in your home country or working as a translator. There are so many jobs at your disposal. A value based reason but very good reason to learn a language.
4 – Travel to More Places Comfortably
Firstly, I want to say that I am not saying that you need to know a language to travel to different countries, not at all. I went to Amsterdam without knowing a word of Dutch and I was fine, but I felt so weird not knowing a few words. I think even knowing 5 words, will help you, even if you want to make a good impression or just need to get someone’s attention if you need help. Not to put a downer on this, but what if you need the doctors and have an emergency but are in a local town with no tourists?
The words I always like to know is …
Thank you
Cheers (to a drink … obviously)
I am (nationality – for emergencies)
I choose these because they are friendly, so people know you are trying and there aren’t many to learn. I also think if you say “I am French (for example” that person immediately knows you need someone who speaks French to get help. I always like to be prepared as well as try, it always makes the other person feel good too. I spoke a bit of Italian when I went to dinner with friends in Rome, and the waiter praised me and then started to sing in Italian to us … was a fab moment.
5 – Learn About Countries and Cultures
If you are in school and wondering whether to take language lessons, I say yes because it isn’t just the language you learn about but the country. It makes lessons so much more fun and makes you more open minded and it is always good to learn more about different countries. It is always good to be open minded to meet new people and learning about their culture and traditions. That way you are prepared going to that country of what to expect.
It isn’t always about being prepared, there may be traditions and customs in that country that you respect and want to implement in your life. I have become more aware of the news in the UK since moving back from Spain and learning more about the way the world works. The news in the UK can be very fabricated and mainly a lot of politicians shouting at each other, so it is often hard to keep up and know who is talking the truth. By reading a bit more into different countries it will spark reason for you to be more open to learning more about your home country, that is why it is such a great reason to learn a language.
6 – Discover New Music and Shows

I was clueless about current English-speaking music even when I listened to English speaking music, let alone now I only listen to Spanish. Yes, that is correct, I only listen to Spanish music – before I was a rock girl. I only first listened to the music when I moved to Barcelona as it is all around you, but there is one reason (embarrassing for me to say as I am very self-aware) why Spanish music took over my playlist… It made me feel sexy as hell, I have never felt sexy in my life and never had the confidence. However, the nightlife in Spain is so social it is either people talking in a group or dancing together. So when I was dancing with a guy I was seeing at the time, I felt amazing. Reggaeton and Bachata is what I first listened to and now I am expanding my music collection. I just can’t tell you how good it is.
It is also a good way to learn a language (see number 10). Remember that iconic 2016 hit Despacito? It originally was released in January 2016 before Justin Bieber added his verse in. So for a good 3-4 months all I heard was Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, it was nice to listen to it without all the commotion before Biebs got involved. However, I do have to thank Biebs for getting involved because now on English radio and in English Clubs they will play Spanish music and I am living for it. Also Netflix have some fab Spanish TV series and films, more recently Elite. You can change subtitles and audio too.
7 – Gives Confidence
When I was in college learning languages I was often too nervous to even speak in class because I didn’t think I was very good. I loved learning but was too scared to speak, I got a C in class but I could have done better if I just grew some lady balls and spoke. However, you live, learn and grow right? I could have got at least a B, now I don’t shut up in Spanish or English. Thanks to living in the country, I had to speak Spanish so was able to become fluent pretty quickly which helped boost my confidence.
People always say, once you conquer one language you can learn another. So that is why I learned Italian, and then soon after Portuguese. I thought, why not? I may as well give it a go and I am about to learn my fifth language next year. Why not do something that makes you feel good? My parents certainly noticed a difference when I moved abroad. Before I moved, I was at my lowest and was ready to quit uni and when I came back I was so different, for all good reasons. Barcelona is a reason to learn a language, for myself and to share my journey.
8 – Once You Do One, You Can Do Many

Just like I mentioned in my previous point, once you know one language you can easily learn another. I recommend putting languages into groups of familiarity, for example Spanish, Portuguese and Italian are all romance languages and all super familiar. Italian and Portuguese are easy for me to learn as they are like Spanish. So, if you want it to be easy you have two options. If you only speak your native language, find out which other language it similar. For English speakers, the closest language is apparently Dutch and German.
If you know another language, maybe see what else is similar. If you just don’t care about how hard a language is and want a challenge, go for it … whatever language you can! Whatever language you learn will be fun anyway!
9 – Meet New People

Two points to address – friends and relationships. Friends: The best part of learning a language, whether you travel or not is the people that you meet. I have so many friends now (not bragging) from different countries where we have shared memories of travelling and experiencing learning a language. They are like-minded people who also love to travel and will meet people from all sorts of cultures and you will often leave your travels feeling overwhelmed and emotional … trust me. Leaving my last trip was tough because I met so many friends.
Relationship time. You never know, if you have been unlucky in love in your home country, you may be lucky in another. I was way more lucky in Spain than I ever was in the UK and that is still the case. It is most likely because I clearly don’t look European (I easily come across as English) so I obviously look different. However, there is something different about when I am away, everyone is so carefree and welcoming it makes me want to make more of an effort and say yes to dating. Also, dating someone who speaks another language makes it easy to become fluent in that language (not that it is a reason to date that person!). Being honest though, there was a guy in Spain who was the first guy I liked in 2 years and he was one of the reasons that I became a better and happier person (he speaks no English). He is a key person in my life, and although we aren’t together we are still good friends and have no bad grudges. Thank goodness for knowing Spanish.
10 – Many Places and Ways to Learn

I will not go on about ways to learn a language, I have another blog post on How To Learn a Language Fast. I will simply tell you the places to go to, to learn a language that I use and trust.
Babbel: This is my holy grail. WARNING!! You do have to pay for this subscription, but it is one of the cheapest deals and is so worth the money. I learned Italian and Portuguese off this website/app and swear by this because I have learned so much. This is good for beginners who want to learn a new language from scratch, because Babbel covers every single word you need to know. It has vocab reminders and numerous courses to choose from – 14 languages!
Memrise: This is my OG and a great reason to learn a language, I have used this since college a good 6 years ago (can’t believe that!). I think Memrise is great for those who vocab and flash cards are their thing, because Memrise is (can you guess it) all about remembering one word or phrases. Good if you like constant refreshers. It is also … gratis! (free). I recommend using Memrise to create personal courses. If there are words you haven’t learned, find out what they translate to and create a course so it is personal to you.
Duolingo: This is a new app for me as I wanted a bit of a change to my other apps, Duolingo is a mixture between Memrise and Babbel. Everything is in one place, I find the app and website really easy to use. I use it again as a reminder of what I have learned as it has the same sort of content as Babbel. It is free also! Each unit of study has five levels and those levels has numerous lessons that get more advanced.
So, I didn’t expect these reasons to learn a language to take so long so explain but hey that’s my passion coming through. I hope you found this somewhat hopeful, whether you decide to learn a language for college or for a hobby. I want to do more skill based travel posts seeing as I am not travelling at the moment and learning a language is something I am expert at as I have been learning a language for 15 years!

Happy December! Can’t quite believe that it is December already and Christmas is around the Corner. Already made my first batch of cookies, next up … Apple and Rhubarb Crumble. Anyway, rather excited that within the next 8 weeks I have some updates for travel and this blog … will keep ya guessing!
Mol xo


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