One of the personal goals that I have been striving for is to learn a new language. In the past academic school year, I’ve had the opportunity to learn Japanese, a language that I’ve wanted to learn for a long time. I never thought I would enjoy learning a language so much, and I’m grateful I had the chance to do so.
Learning a new language comes with many benefits, and today, I want to share with you why you should consider learning a language and some tips and tricks to help you get started!
Three Benefits of Language Learning
1. You get to learn about another culture
You can learn a lot about a culture just by studying their language! When I was studying Japanese, I found it fascinating how Japanese has different approaches to certain social situations and how it has words to phrases that don’t even exist in English! I appreciate my sensei (Japanese for “teacher”) for sharing a bit of her culture with me.
It is not every day that you can engage with cultures and communities outside your own, so language learning is an excellent opportunity to do so! Learning about other cultures is not only fun, but it also widens your perspective. Especially today, the world is getting more connected through technology, and it is important to be open and ready to learn about different cultures.
2. You get to connect with different people outside your own culture
Learning a new language also allows for your network to expand. You will get the opportunity to interact with many other people you could never have interacted with because of a language barrier. Creating those new connections can aid you in your personal life, your professional career, or even when travelling to other countries!
3. Employers love candidates who speak multiple languages
Knowing multiple languages creates more job opportunities and makes you stand out in interviews. In Canada, especially, being bilingual in English and French is an asset that many companies look for because it caters to both the English- and French-speaking communities.
Communication is a big part of an organizational structure. Thus, knowing multiple languages means more access to communication pathways to different communities, opening up more opportunities for the company and you as a worker.
3 Tips and Tricks to Learning a New Language
Are you interested in learning a new language? Here are some tips and tricks for you to get started!
1. Invest in good textbooks and materials to help in your studies
Although language textbooks can be quite 'pricey', finding some that can supplement your learning is well worth it. I would also recommend using flashcards to learn vocabulary or grammar, which has been one of my favourite tools for learning Japanese.
2. Find a good tutor to teach you
Finding the right tutor can be tricky, but the difference between a good and a bad tutor may mean feeling motivated to study or giving up entirely. Here are some ways to find a good teacher:
Check if your university offers any language courses. This is a great way to learn a new language while working towards your degree if you need elective courses.
Online Learning. There are many great apps to help you in your language learning. YouTube, for example, often has great videos on the basics of language learning that you can use to supplement your studies. Other sources include apps like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone.
NOTE: I would not recommend only using these apps to learn a new language; investing in lessons with a professional tutor is also essential.
Find language classes near you. Search your area to see if anyone is offering any language classes. If there are no available classes, there are many alternatives to finding a tutor. For example, Preply or Italki are great websites to find an online tutor.
3. Practice, practice, practice every day
“Practice makes perfect” has never been a truer statement regarding language learning. The key to language learning is to integrate it into your everyday life. Review your notes, vocabulary, grammar, etc., every chance you get and slowly incorporate them into your daily speech.
There is a lot of dedication to learning a new language because it is like adopting a new lifestyle. If you slack off in your studies, it will become harder and harder to pick up where you left off. So, don’t stop learning, and soon, you will see the results of your hard work!