Perks of Being Bilingual

hello2By Maria Espinoza

As a child, I had forced myself to adhere to my new language yet unaware of the benefits that would come along the way. Today, I am amongst the 399 million Spanish-speakers in the world. I’ve learned that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States, and the third most used language on the Internet.

It’s not only important to adopt a new language, but essential for communication in today’s modern society. And though people are resistant to the idea of acquiring a whole new language, I hope the following facts will change their minds.

  1. Labor Market Advantages
    “Balanced bilinguals” are more likely to enter a higher status occupation and earn higher salary at an average of $7,000 more than their monolingual peers. There also is a high demand for employees who speak more than one language in the workforce. In North America, 34 percent of recruiters agree that being bilingual is critical to succeed in today’s business environment.
  2. A Global Perspective
    Being bilingual allows for more personal interactions and raises awareness that other countries do things differently. The benefits of speaking Spanish as a student, business professional and traveler are endless with limitless opportunities in 22 countries!
  3. Better Educational Outcomes
    According to a recent study by the Educational Testing Service, bilinguals are more likely to graduate from high school and enter four-year colleges at higher rates. Bilingualism also allows access to new sources of information and more diverse social networks.
  4. Newfound Meaning
    Some words that occur in one language are difficult to express in the same level of emotion in another language. Imagine yourself trying to articulate in your own words and same level of respect in an Asian culture. This can result in offensive speech and, in many cases, the end to a business proposal.
  5. Healthier Brain 
    Studies show bilinguals have a sharper memory as they age. They have better executive functions, meaning an easier time multitasking and concentrating, and outperform monolinguals in cognitive functions, such as recall of episodic memories. Basically, your brain will grow by learning a new language. Food for thought, right? If you  still don’t believe me, watch this TED-Ed Original for more information.

Interestingly enough, with a whole new language also comes a quirky accent. Ask my friends!

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