With only two official languages in Botswana and a little over 2 million people, one might not find any reason to learn a foreign language. In actual fact, learning another language opens up new opportunities and gives you perspectives that you might never have encountered otherwise. Here are 10 very good reasons why you should be learning a foreign language:
1. To Increase Global Understanding
As globalization and mobility and communications are bring the world ever closer together, ever more urgent is the need for global citizens to be competent in other languages. Learning another language gives the learner the ability to step inside the mind and context of that other culture. Without the ability to communicate and understand a culture on its own terms, true access to that culture is barred.
2. To Improve Employment Potential
Chances are that knowing languages will open up employment opportunities that you would not have had otherwise. And you will be able to command a greater salary in the workplace. All else being equal, knowing languages gives you an edge over monolingual applicants competing for the same jobs.
3. To Increase Native Language Ability
Knowledge of other languages boosts students’ understanding of languages in general and enables students to use their native language more effectively. This applies to specific language skills as well as overall linguistic abilities. Foreign language learners have stronger vocabulary skills in English, a better understanding of the language, and improved literacy in general.
4. To Sharpen Cognitive And Life Skills
Because learning a language involves a variety of learning skills, studying a foreign language can enhance one’s ability to learn and function in several other areas. Children who have studied a language at the elementary level score higher on tests in reading, language arts, and math.
5. To Improve Chances Of Entry Into College
For those planning to continue on to graduate study in foreign countries, knowledge of a second and sometimes even a third language is often a prerequisite for admission. Even when an undergraduate or graduate institution doesn’t require foreign language study, it’s often recommended by programs. Knowing a language can’t hurt your application, and is highly likely to make you a more competitive candidate in the admissions process.
6. To Appreciate International Literature And Arts
Most of the world’s literary and artistic works have been written in languages other than English. A translation of a text can never be fully true to the intent, beauty, style, and uniqueness of its original. A translation is always to a large degree subject to the interpretation of the translator, not least because some elements of languages simply don’t have translations in other languages
7. To Make Travel More Enjoyable
Though it’s possible to travel to foreign countries without speaking the native language, your experience will be largely shaped by your ability or inability to see beyond the surface of the culture. When you lack the ability to communicate in the native language, you cannot fully participate in day-to-day life, understand the culture, or communicate with the people. The language barrier can be anywhere from frustrating to downright dangerous.
8.To Make Lifelong Friends
Knowing other languages effectively increases the number of people on the globe with whom you can communicate. And people who speak other languages fully appreciate the effort and desire learners expend to get to know their culture and to communicate with them.
9. To Increase Understanding and One’s Own Culture
Knowing another language and culture affords you the unique opportunity of seeing yourself and your own culture from an outside perspective. There are aspects of your language, yourself, your life, and your own culture that you accept as absolute and universal or that you have never even considered until you encounter a culture and people who do things in a much different way than you’re used to.
10. Impress People Around You
Whether at a fancy restaurant with your date ordering dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon using correct pronunciation, or talking with the locals in their native tongue, learning a foreign language is bound to impress more than a few people around you. You will likely get plenty of compliments on your unique skill, and a few curious glances from passersby here and then.