Benefits of bilingualism

We live in a global, interconnected era. Every day we're more conscious of the different cultures that exist and it's important to know them and communicate with them as it brings lots of advantages. Speaking another language has become an indispensable tool to progress, and more than half of the population is bilingual, however, the importance of a bilingual society it's not recognized enough.

Does being bilingual truly represents a benefit? Does being bilingual opens doors to the world? Bilingual people are more intelligent?

Today we will solve these doubts and talk about the benefits of bilingualism for the brain, health and life and the reasons why you should learn another language:

What is bilingualism?

Bilingualism is the ability of a person to dominate two languages. A bilingual person has a primary or mother tongue, and a second language. Bilingualism has existed since ancient civilizations that, for example, needed to learn a way to communicate with neighbor tribes. So it's a capacity that has always been present even in the most primitive societies.

The importance of bilingualism

Bilingualism has a lot of benefits at a personal level. Some of the advantages bilinguals get just for speaking two languages are:

1.- Cognitive development

Speaking two languages implies an increase in the brain's response speed, which results in:

-An active mind and better comprehension of math problems: Constantly training the brain makes us use logic more frequently and therefore, abilities like math become easier to understand.

-Better multitasking skills and fight against distractions: Task switching happens unconsciously and it's easier to concentrate in busy environments.

-Greater ability to solve problems and take decisions: Thanks to a "metalinguistic awareness", bilinguals classify better the information, paying attention to what's important and making decision making more effective.

-Memory improvement: Working with a higher amount of information, the knowledge base and comprehension increase and in the long term it reduces the risk of suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer's.

2.- Socio-emotional development

Knowing two languages helps not only to preserve our bonds with a culture and community but also generates

-More sensibility in personal relations: There is a better understanding of cultural differences that create more emotive human relations.

-Opportunity to communicate with a higher amount of people: Evidently, learning a second language encourages new relations on the second language.

-Integration to other cultures: Being bilingual is like traveling without leaving home. It'll give you the opportunity to integrate into other cultures, participate and get in touch with their traditions and rituals.

-Decrease in the impact of culture shock: Most of the time when traveling, language becomes a barrier. Knowing it stimulates a better adaptation to the other culture and lowers the problems we could face.

3.- Long-term success

In a globalized and competitive society, a bilingual person has better probabilities of higher academic and professional success because: 

-It is related to positive features: Being bilingual is automatically associated with intelligence and efficiency.

-Expands employment opportunities as language demand is growing: Bilinguals are more appreciated each day and searched by HR in companies, that consider them more qualified to manage world trade relations and teams.

-Generates higher salaries: According to studies realized in various countries, bilinguals increase their minimum wage by at least 1.5% more than monolinguals.

Economic benefits of a bilingual country

Bilingualism should be a fundamental aspect for all nations, as it brings economic development and commercial growth. Strengthening a second language as a country opens business' horizons and diversifies commercial trade, increasing economic relations and making them more effective, which translates into higher incomes and strategic alliances.

Also, the added value for the companies is indisputable. A study made by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist, cited in the EF EPI in 2014, reflects that almost 90% of the directives stated that better cross-border communication enhances profitability. That's the reason why language demand is bigger now, companies need to strengthen ties with international markets, so knowing two or more languages is more necessary to work.

Anglo-speaking countries and their lack of bilingualism

An anglo-speaking country like the US used to a world where the rest of the countries make an effort to speak their language, can lead to a comfort zone where the aforementioned benefits are not clearly seen. However, they exist. A country that doesn't encourage a second language, limits itself at a commercial, political and social level:

“If you don't dominate a second language you miss opportunities of cultural, academic and economic exchanges”

More training is needed in terms of language and making a priority the teaching of a second language is essential, as it'd bring countless benefits. Scientific evidence shows that kids have more cerebral plasticity, their brains is more sensitive to external modifications and fast learning, so starting at a younger age is fundamental and the most recommendable.

Are you ready to learn another language?

Now that you know the benefits of bilingualism, Do you dare to try learning a new language? Or are you already a bilingual person? Tell us your experience and what do you think about it, we want to hear you.

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Education first

Ventajas de ser bilingüe