The Truth About Learning a Foreign Language (And Why You Shouldn't Miss The Opportunity When It Comes)
By: Christophe Chabaudie
Learning a foreign language is one of the best investments one can make, with short and long term benefits. We are bombarded with miracle solutions to learn a language “in 5 minutes.” However, as a speaker of 5 languages having started early on, I want to share some facts and straight truths about language learning which have proven to be life changing for me:
• Start way before your college years. You must be dedicated in college to learn a language from scratch, let alone two. And even though studying abroad in college is great, it will never bring the same intensity and emotions compared to doing it between 14 and 17. Middle school and high school years are the best time to learn a foreign language.
• Get a self confidence boost. Self confidence most often has to be acquired. The most noticeable boost comes when you push past your comfort zone in your teen years and set goals for yourself. Learning a language early on while experiencing other cultures gives you that.
• Stand out while applying for college. Spending time abroad during teen years displays adaptability, courage to take chances, and high goals. All of these qualities help you to stand out on your college application and increase your chances of great internships and scholarships.
• Get your first job more easily. The job market is fiercely competitive. Unique assets like fluency in one or more foreign languages improves your hireability. No need to be frustrated to see your dream job advertised with a great salary and perks only to realize you don’t meet the language requirement.
• Reality check. Although many believe English to be the primary language spoken all over the world - most people don’t speak it. Global companies seek multilingual employees who can open new markets and create great bonds with customers. This ability starts with learning a foreign language early on by studying abroad as often as is possible.
In my experience, teens who have benefited from the above have a global citizenship, and thrive in multicultural settings. They feel ready for success in college and later have thrived in their first jobs. This has been my experience, and, based on what I’ve seen, it can be the same for the teen you know.
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