One of the biggest barriers people put up when thinking about learning a new language is their own advancing years. You will no doubt hear, “I’m too old to learn a new language from scratch”, or, “You can’t teach this old dog new tricks”.
However, the real truth is that knowing another language opens up a world of opportunities. It could even land you that dream job. There will also be a number of occasions to meet new people and gain a much wider social circle of friends.
Knowing that language learning is big and an ongoing process, one should not look at this from the bigger picture. Learning a sentence or a phrase is a good place to start; and getting to understand the conjunctive verb structure (I am, you are, they are, we are and so on) is a dynamic starting point.
Language learning can help to build opportunities in ways you might not have thought possible. There are several cases of students taking gap years in Central and South America where Spanish is widely spoken. These language learning experiences have allowed some students to work for international development charities overseas; often helping those in poverty learn technology with an aim to reduce impoverishment and a low standard of life.
The overall quality of life and increased opportunities that stem from language learning cannot be underestimated. Just consider these key benefits to grace any language learning student:
- Deep and meaningful appreciation of another culture.
- Increased ability to make new friends and colleagues, while communicating in and understanding that other language.
- Increased cognitive levels and attention span improvements.
- The ability to learn a third language a lot easier than it might have proven, having learned the second language.
As with all language learning, practice is key. It needs to be something you engage in every single day going forward. The opportunities and new friendships should come naturally but there is no reason why one cannot propel these lifestyle advances organically.
What language learning actually does is to create conditions for success. Providing you can monitor your progress, be sure to practice every day and to expect mistakes will be made, there is no reason why age or bewilderment should prevent you becoming a bilingual.
One of the most dynamic aspects of language learning is the fact that opportunities present themselves as you learn – and not all at once, when the study process has been completed.
Levenson, Ellie. “‘It Opens up so Many More Opportunities’: How Languages Can Lead to a.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 22 Oct. 2011, www.independent.co.uk/student/career-planning/getting-job/it-opens-up-so-many-more-opportunities-how-languages-can-lead-to-a-dream-job-2093268.html.