The world is becoming increasingly globalized. Most organizations conduct business across international lines; however many English speaking Americans haven’t learned to be conversant in another language. Pew Research sites a survey that found only 25% of Americans report knowing a second language. Learning another language not only gives you a competitive advantage in a variety of fields, but it also gives you the cognitive skills you need to be a leader in your field.
Expanding Your View
Mandarin is quickly becoming one of the most important languages to learn for conducting international business. Spanish is essential to communicating with a large segment of people in the United States. The more seriously you can commit to studying a language earlier in life, the easier it will be to become proficient. Learning another language also exposes you to different cultures and expands your view of the world so that you can interact with the global community more effectively.
A study cited in USNews found that kids who learned a second language at a young age had improved cognitive function. These kids had better focus, better decision making skills and judgement. The very act of learning a language can give you the skills you need to be competitive in the workplace.
Another neurological study cited in USNews found that learning another language also builds grey matter in the brain. The article states, “Increased gray matter means that the brain will work faster and more efficiently.”
While the advantages of learning another language are clear, the education system in the United States does not place much value on learning another language. In some states there is a language requirement for graduation, while others do not require any language coursework. You may have to invest your own time if you are serious about learning another language to proficiency.
Knowing another language not only gives you a skill that will give you a competitive hiring edge, but it also builds the knowledge and decision making skills you need to excel at your job. Even if you don’t use your second language for work, learning and practicing one will help advance your career.
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