I understand first-hand the benefits of being bilingual as my family life is multicultural and I work at a language centre where all the staff speak a minimum of 2 languages.
- The ability to engage and be part of two different and diverse cultures and communities; two different customs, habits, food, lifestyles and ways of viewing the world. It continually challenges my habit of thinking that my cultural perspective is the only one that is right.
- The continual expansion of my mind; one of the areas where the bilingual advantage appears to be most persistent isn’t related to a particular skill or task: it’s a general benefit that seems to help the aging brain. Adults who speak multiple languages seem to resist the effects of dementia far better than monolinguals do.
- Being in a world where there are two cultural norms creates greater tolerance and open mindedness.
- Having learned my second language as an adult, I understand what it takes to learn a language and therefore have more empathy for non-English speakers.
- It continually expands my horizons. I tend to notice things that I have never noticed before (about people and cultures) and I have learned things that I would never have thought about in my own world.
- Language helps you make friends and acquaintances and you are able to have a deeper understanding about the culture and country – rather than just be a tourist.
- You don’t get “ripped off” when you travel.
- You can find out the places where locals go, rather than stick to the tourist destinations.
- Travelling is not a superficial experience - you have the ability to discover the real country, rather than the ‘tourist brochure’ country.
"Think of the dumbest person you know. They speak at least one language fluently." - author unknown.