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Five Characteristics You'll Develop by Learning Another Language

5 Characteristics you'll develop by learning another language.What exactly makes language learners awesome? We’ve gathered up just five (we could go on!) indisputable reasons that language learners are way tougher, smarter, and cooler than they sometimes get credit for.

For starters: they have to put themselves out there and risk sounding like a child in another language. They adventure to unknown places. They willingly subject themselves to learning another grammar system, when we all know that learning just one is hard enough.

Here’s to the adventurers, the multilinguals, and all those braving the wild frontier that is a new language and a different culture — you’re the real MVPs. The following five characteristics are just some of the many benefits to be gained by learning another language.

1. You'll become more curious

A woman searching for a book in a library.“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can; there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” ‒ Sarah Caldwell

Think back to the first time you felt that spark of curiosity towards a new language. Was it your first rickshaw ride in China’s historic hutongs? Or was it when you first mastered rolling your r’s in Spanish? Whatever first ignited your interest in learning a new language and exploring a new culture, it’s magic — and it’s worth chasing. Exploring another language and culture will feed your curiosity, increasing your motivation to keep learning!

2. You'll discover your adventurous side

Planning for a trip. “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein

Not only will learning another language feed your curiosity, but it will increase your motivation to explore other cultures at home as well as abroad. By adventuring into new conversations, language learners chase the mystery of the world, as they seek answers in others. Whether you’re in the company of your peers while studying abroad, moving with your family for a global reassignment, or you’re flying solo — you’re earning your adventurer badge, whether you realize it or not. And as they say, life is either a great adventure, or nothing at all. 

3. You'll develop a greater openness to others

A group high-fiving new friends.“Facing a language you don't know is like returning to your infancy when your mother tongue used to be a foreign language to you.” — Munia Khan

In order to really learn a language, you’ll need to learn the culture as well. In doing so, you’ll find you become more tolerant as you discover the similarities between another culture and your own. Willingness to be vulnerable and open almost always turns out to be the bridge to learning — and mastering — the new language and culture you set out to explore.

4. You'll increase your intelligence

People brainstorming at work.“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” — Frank Smith

Intelligence is more than your IQ score. We like to think about intelligence as a result of the world you choose to create for yourself. When you invest in your cultural IQ and learning new languages, you’re building critical-thinking skills, expanding your worldview, and keeping your cognitive knowledge sharp. In fact, research shows that the brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers.

Basically, your multilingual brain processes meaning on a deeper level, increasing your problem-solving skills and building your muscle memory across disciplines. And the benefits don’t stop there: Speaking more than one language has also been shown to increase perception, improve your ability to multitask, and make you more observant. Bottom line: Language learners are often the best and the brightest, and they’ve worked hard for that.

5. You'll find that you're braver than you think

A woman reading a map while hiking in the mountains.

“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” — Rita Mae Brown

Learning a new language is a brave new world. You’re choosing to embrace the unfamiliar over the familiar. It is brave to choose knowledge and growth over comfort zones and a single-perspective existence. Don’t get us wrong — it’s not all glory and adventure. Learning a new language and culture is not always easy, and often, it’s the road less traveled — but think of all the roads you will travel because of it. Sometimes, that twinge of fear you feel along the way is just proof that you’re on the cusp of discovering something wonderful.

So, here’s to you: the language learners, the lovers of culture, the globally-minded citizens. You make the world go round. We can’t wait to follow along on your journey — keeping your language knowledge fresh and your culture informed every step of the way. As a testament of our love, we have more than 70 robust, culture-packed language courses ready and waiting for you. Which language is next on your list?

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Jillian Rodriguez

Jillian is a writer and editor out of Detroit, Michigan. She loves connecting people through new ideas, interesting stories, and good conversation. In her free time, Jillian loves to read, write, and listen to podcasts - in Spanish and in English!

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