“Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.”
–Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Learning another language not only opens your eyes to an entire new world, but it also reveals new insights about yourself and your own culture.
Learning a foreign language has countless benefits. Most importantly, learning another language helps you to connect to a whole new people and their culture. Language and culture are so closely intertwined that often it can be impossible to separate the two. So in learning new language a whole new world opens up to you. You’ll have countless new people to talk to and new modes of understanding that will come from talking with them. One of the best ways to learn about another country is by talking with its people and coming to understand its culture.
Also, I feel that it helps you better understand your native language, its grammar, and your own culture. Through the differences and similarities to the culture about which you are learning, revelations about how your own culture works will come to light. I find that as you learn more and more about the new culture you are studying, the people with whom you are speaking are equally curious about your own culture. To explain it requires personal introspection since we don’t always stop and analyze how our own world works, much less then explain it to someone else.
As a French speaker, I love how my brain works differently when I speak French. I feel like there are certain ideas that I can express better in French than in English, and that certain French words capture the essence of the idea better. Learning a foreign language definitely instilled in me a great respect for people who learn English as a second language and live in the US. I like to think of the quote at the beginning of the article, and want to celebrate their bravery in speaking. Speaking in a foreign language can be intimidating and at points for me, has been terrifying. But I learned to gather my self-confidence to speak up for myself and the benefits always outweigh my initial reluctance to speak. Learning a new language is a worthwhile challenge that you will not regret!