Being bilingual comes with a lot of perks. The first bonus to being bilingual is an improvement in your problem-solving, multi-tasking, and decision-making skills. People who are bilingual process information not only quicker than monolingual people, they think quicker as well. According to Fluenty.com, a study in Scotland and Italy found that bilingual children were significantly more successful than their monolingual peers in problem-solving. Being bilingual myself, I can process many different items at once because my brain is constantly multitasking with language. When your brain is trained to understand multiple languages in a snap, it becomes significantly easier to “walk and chew gum at the same time.”
While problem-solving skills are definitely a plus, being bilingual comes with a much higher chance of gaining employment. Many companies like to hire bilingual-speaking people and have a diverse staff; they do this so that their employees come from different backgrounds in order to better serve a wider variety of customers. Companies want versatile workers. Fluenty goes on to say that knowing a second language makes your resume stand out and puts you at the top of the interview list with potential employers. Speaking another language can also open up a whole new career path as a translator or interpreter.
If short-term benefits aren’t enough to convince you to learn another language, the long-term health benefits might. Researchers show that bilingualism can improve cognition and delay dementia in older adults. According to Frontiersin, bilingualism is one form of cognitive stimulation that requires multiple aspects of brain activity. Not only does brain activity increase, but bilingualism has been shown to delay the onset of dementia symptoms in patients by approximately 4-5 years as compared to monolingual patients through the cognitive reserve. Frontiersin also points out that bilingualism can protect against cognitive decline that is associated with dementias.
The final advantage of being bilingual is that it opens up social and cultural opportunities. Being able to speak many languages, you will interact with many unique people from different cultures and walks of life. You will make more friends, acquaintances, and maybe family as well. Exploring unique hobbies also comes with being bilingual. Traveling can be easier and cheaper. In some countries, swindlers will charge foreigners or people that do not speak the native language in so-called countries more to rip them off. That being said, at the very least, bilingualism can help protect your hard-earned dollar while traveling abroad.
Needless to say, being bilingual or multilingual has many benefits and comes with great privilege. Whether one considers the impacts learning another language can have on their brain, their career, their opportunities, or their pocketbook, the ability to communicate with a wide variety of people comes with a wide variety of fantastic bonuses. Though it does take time and practice, it certainly is time and effort well-spent.