10 Reasons Why You Should Take a Language Course

1. It’ll make you smarter

Study after study shows that those who learn a second language have increased health and cognitive capabilities. You’ll lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia and improve your decision-making skills.

It is also likely that you will become a better student as your memory and perception will improve as well as your writing skills. There are not many courses that have this sort of benefit, so there’s no reason not to do it!

2. The Professors are Great

You’ll probably notice that your professors will be passionate about spreading their knowledge to others. Learning a language is quite difficult, and therefore, having professors who are friendly and great at what they do is very important to foreign language departments. You will find that your language teachers will be among some of your favourites in university.

3. Small Classes

Even 100-level language courses will be the size of your average high school classroom. This makes the learning experience much easier and you’ll be able to have a close relationship to your professor. It’s also easy to make friends as you will often work in pairs when going over homework and exercises. If you continue taking a language, you’ll likely see familiar faces in your classes that will make the environment more comforting.

4. Languages are sexy

There’s nothing like being able to swoon a love interest in French or come up with some pick-up lines in Japanese. With just a few words in your back pocket, you’ll find a partner in no time.

In all seriousness, people who speak other languages are often smarter and more open-minded. This is because learning about other parts of the world through language will open you up to different ideas and give you a more holistic understanding of your own beliefs.

Your relationships will be stronger and more genuine if you are able to find new ways of thinking. So if you want to stay woke and find love, languages are definitely for you!

5. You’ll open yourself up to new jobs and opportunities

Having a second or third language is becoming more important in our globalized world. While French is highly beneficial in Canada, the increasing diversity of the country is making other languages just as important.

By being able to communicate in a different language, you will open yourself up to unique job opportunities, and be able to work and live abroad more easily. Studies also show that bilingual speakers make a higher salary on average than monolingual speakers.

The language departments at UVic also have great field-school and exchange opportunities that can only be taken by those taking foreign language classes. There are also dozens of co-ops and internships that are available solely for bilingual speakers.

6. You’ll be able to watch movies and TV shows in their authentic voice

Nothing ruins a movie or TV show more for a bilingual speaker than obnoxious English dubbing that doesn’t align with how the characters are speaking.

Watching the authentic voice of actors will enhance the viewing experience and make you learn your target language faster. You’ll open your mind to different works of art that you may not have ever been exposed to otherwise.

It also helps to watch movies and TV when learning a language as it will help you to hear the language as it is really spoken in the real world. While courses are important to know the basics, understanding how others actually speak is what will ultimately make you a fluent speaker.

7. You’ll learn a new culture and get an outsider’s perspective of your own

By taking courses, you will also gain knowledge about the culture of the countries that speak your target language. Having this understanding will open you up to the views and traditions of others.

By learning about how others see the world, you will be able to compare it to your own cultural practices and traditions, giving you a more critical view of society. Being exposed to different ideas is important to be successful in university and in the job-market.

8. You’ll have a better experience travelling

Travelling is great when you know even just a few words in a country’s native language. It goes a long way to show respect for the people you are visiting and they will be impressed that you’ve taken the time to learn their language. This will make it easier to connect with others and avoid the common “English-speaker who doesn’t care about other cultures” stereotype.

Me in St. Pierre Quiberon, France in 2016

9. It will help you write and speak better in your own language

Learning about the precise mechanics and structure of another language can help you to think about your own in a new way. This will help your grammar when writing and speaking English as it will give you a new perspective on how sentences are formed. It will also increase your vocabulary and find more creative ways to form sentences.  

10. A language minor or certificate will look good on a resume

A foreign language as a minor or certificate is a great way to supplement any degree. As mentioned, languages will set you apart from others in the job market and they will likely give you access to higher rates of pay.

Even if you are not considering a language as part of your primary studies, a few language and culture courses can be very helpful to fill any open elective slots and to show your prospective employers that you have an understanding of other cultures and ideas.

Some tips and resources for language learners:

  • Duolingo: Great, easy, and fun app that has dozens of languages. Includes daily lessons that are short and useful.
  • YouTube: There are thousands of YouTubers from different countries who speak your target language. They are helpful as they speak the language as it is really spoken, and not just in the way taught in a classroom. My personal favourite channel is Damon and Jo, who speak several languages and teach you how to travel in different countries for cheap.
  • Find a conversation café. The UVic International Commons offers conversation cafés in various languages. They are free and open to anyone!
  • Go on Exchange! The best way to learn a language is to be constantly exposed to it. Study abroad in another country and you’ll likely come back with at least a good understanding of the native language.
  • Focus on mastering the 100 most common words. By mastering those words, you will be on the right track to full fluency.
  • 4 Reasons To Learn a New Language: Ted Talk

Are you learning a language or are wanting to? Put your advice or experience in the comments below!

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