Why is learning a second language important?


Harper Klinger, Staff Writer

According to an article from the World Economic Forum by Sean Fleming, in the US alone, only about 20% of students are learning a foreign language, whereas parts of Europe stand at about 100% and the median across all of Europe is 92%. 

Learning a foreign language produces many benefits for the brain including enhanced memory and better listening skills. These skills can help with preventing dementia and other diseases that affect memory later in life. It also has been shown in MRI scans that the brains of people learning a language’s brains increased in size while others who didn’t learn a second language’s brains stayed the same size. 

Languages also help with attention span and concentration because switching between the languages and using more information helps increase attentiveness in the brain. After learning a second language, learning additional languages is much easier because the brain networks have already been made. Also, the skills for memorizing and the best ways to learn have been used and the same skills can be applied to each language to learn. 

Learning another language can also introduce people to a different culture that is different from theirs and helps them understand other cultures with more of an open mind. Understanding other cultures also helps with trying something new that is not normal and can get students out of their comfort zone. Getting out of comfort zones can help boost students’ self esteem because they learn that making mistakes is just a part of life and accept the fact of messing up and being embarrassed better. 

“I like Spanish because I think it is interesting to learn different cultures and just the language in general. It is fun to learn something new everyday,” said Kelly Walsh Spanish student Taylor Nokes.

Learning languages can also give job opportunities to use the language to expand around the world where learning another language might be crucial to getting more business. 

“I like learning a language because it might come in handy for my job in the future,” said Spanish 4 student Emerson Levin. 

Learning multiple languages provides opportunities in schools to be involved in clubs or organizations after schools that open perspectives and allow for people to become better at communicating with people.

  “I think it can help give me a new perspective on people, and I think it is important to try and connect with new people. And in the future it will provide more opportunities for me,” said French student Alyssa Langley.