You think you might want to learn a language in 2023. Maybe it’s the first time you’ve said this out loud to yourself in a way that makes you feel like you could actually do this. Or maybe it’s now the fifth year in a row you’ve resolved to crack open your old textbooks, and you’re looking for a good reason to believe you’re actually going to do it this time.
Great news — we have a reason. And 22 more where that came from. Although it’s never too late (nor a bad time) to start learning a language, there’s something especially motivating about the potential contained inside a fresh yearly planner. If ringing in 2023 is what it takes to get you fully committed to your pronunciation drills, so be it. There’s never been a better year (or more reasons) to get started. And when you’ve been thoroughly convinced, you can always get a jump start in 2023 with Babbel.
23 Reasons To Learn A Language In 2023
- With apps, podcasts, games and more, language learning has never been this fun or accessible. Maybe you never cracked open your old Spanish textbooks because you didn’t resonate with that style of learning. Good news: there are more ways to learn than ever, and you’ll benefit most from a well-rounded approach that keeps you engaged and motivated, anyway. You can immerse yourself with movies, books, and podcasts in your target language, or use apps like Babbel. Babbel itself is no longer just an app that gives you coursework, but a full suite of language learning experiences that includes live online classes with real teachers, games, podcasts, videos and more.
- More and more people are feeling ready to travel. People are feeling more optimistic and confident about traveling in 2023 than they did in 2022, according to research from Booking.com. If you’re in the cohort of people who are looking forward to taking all the trips you put off in 2020, 2021 or 2022, there’s no time like the new year to start perfecting your latte order in another language.
- Digital nomad visas are rapidly becoming a thing. In 2023, people are increasingly mixing business with pleasure as remote work opens new possibilities to them. In response, more and more countries are offering digital nomad visas that allow visitors to gain temporary residency while they’re working remotely for a non-local employer. Forget study abroad — this could be your year of work abroad.
- We’re overdue for family reunions. Reconnecting with your heritage is one way to get the ball rolling. With many people now potentially years behind on getting together with loved ones, multi-generational family reunion trips are one of the top travel trends expected by Booking.com this year. If you’ve ever wanted to learn an ancestral tongue to connect more with your heritage, imagine being able to greet your grandmother in her native language at this year’s reunion.
- We’re eager to step out of our comfort zones, and a new language will surely challenge yours. Blame the cabin fever maybe, but half of world travelers want to experience complete culture shock in 2023, and even more — 73 percent — are looking to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. Whether you book a flight to do this or find a way to do it from your couch, why not join the tide and step out of yours?
- You’re probably ready to turn the subtitles off when you watch your favorite foreign-language shows. Increasingly, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are branching out into non-English media. There’s never been a better time to learn a language from your TV, and the added challenge of watching with the subtitles off might give you a big motivation boost that you won’t get from finishing your stack of flashcards.
- Your brain will thank you for it. Language learning: it’s good for your brain! Language learning has been shown to help you build more gray matter in your brain, which helps delay the onset of dementia and also boost your ability to multitask, focus and solve problems.
- Language learning can literally make you happier. It’ll help you build self-esteem and confidence, and you’ll get joy out of all the added social connection made possible to you. Also, learning new vocab activates the reward center of your brain. Get those dopamine hits where you can, folks!
- It can make you a better person too. Learning a new language can actually make you more empathetic. Numerous studies going back to the 1970s have shown that speaking another language makes it easier for you to see things from another person’s perspective. It can also help dissolve prejudices and boost your cultural competence. Working on a language is working on yourself.
- Language learning will aid you in your own self-discovery. A lot of people who study other languages say they can tap into entirely new dimensions of their personality in another language. Part of this is due to the fact that certain languages are better at expressing certain types of emotions than others — whether through intonation or through words that don’t exist in your native language. Also, saying things in a second language can feel less “charged” than saying it in your mother tongue. It’s part of the reason why cursing in another language just doesn’t hit the same.
- Embracing mistakes is good for you. Language learning helps you do that. Believe it or not, language learning isn’t (or shouldn’t be, at least) about attaining perfect fluency. It’s about creating more possibilities for communication and pushing through your initial mistakes. And when you overcome your fear of making mistakes, you overcome your fear of trying all sorts of new things.
- A new language might just be your ticket to that career change you’ve been contemplating. Knowing another language can give your resume (and salary) a much-needed boost, especially if you’re looking for work in a field that values foreign language skills. Here are just a few careers that you can consider as a multilingual candidate.
- A new language can open doors you didn’t even know were there. The professional benefits are already substantial. But you won’t know what else a new language will make possible for you until you try it. Speaking another language opens you up to more connection with the world. Don’t be surprised if new pathways are revealed in the process.
- You’ll have more books to read. And movies, and podcasts, and more. Yes, TV shows are where it’s at. But think of all the other media you can put on your list. Only 3 percent of books published in the United States are translations of books in other languages. If you want to read other-language literature, the best way is to learn to read the other language.
- You’ll finally be able to order gnocchi the right way… Is it your dream to effortlessly order for your entire table in Italian? That’s a very valid goal. Start perusing food vocabulary now so you can impress at your next dinner date or trip abroad.
- …and ask a local for their restaurant recommendations. The only thing better than hitting it off with your waiter is hitting it off with a waiter who doesn’t usually talk to a lot of tourists. Learning the local language is a great way to avoid tourist traps and find out where the locals love to eat — not to mention befriend a few of them, too.
- Google Translate isn’t good enough to replace language learning (yet). Technology is amazing. It grows more amazing by the year. But for now and for the time being, translation apps still have a lot of catching up to do. While auto-translation devices might come in handy from time to time, actually knowing the language is still the best way to communicate with others.
- You’ll understand more about the human experience. If you’re American or British, becoming bilingual might make you different than a lot of your peers. But actually, it’ll make you more like the majority of people in the world. It’s more common to be multilingual than monolingual, which means multilingualism is kind of the default human condition.
- Single? Being bilingual makes you more attractive (and opens up your dating pool). A survey Babbel conducted with EliteSingles found that 75 percent of people find it attractive when someone speaks more than one language. Nearly all (93 percent) of the respondents agreed that having language skills is more attractive than having a six-pack or an athletic build. You hear that? Maybe skip the January surge at your gym and open a language app instead.
- Committed? Language learning can be a good bonding activity. If you’re dating someone who shares your interest in other languages, studying together — or being each other’s accountability buddies — is a good way to spend time together and keep each other motivated. Or maybe you’re with someone who doesn’t speak your language very well, or their parents don’t speak English. Learning their language is a gesture of love, and one that will bring you even closer.
- You can use it to replace your more destructive procrastination habits. You can probably open up your phone right now and get hard data on how much time you waste mindlessly scrolling through social media. Why not commit a portion of your time-wasting budget in 2023 to language learning? The best part: it’ll stimulate the same physical reflexes that make you want to reach for your phone whenever you’re bored. By diverting that impulse into “opening up a language lesson,” you’ll build more productive habits and decondition yourself from more addictive scrolling tendencies.
- It’ll give you a sense of accomplishment and agency in an unpredictable climate. The past couple of years especially have confronted us with just how much lies beyond our control. In the face of so much uncertainty, it can be therapeutic and grounding to focus on the things you can control. Making progress on your goals will help combat any helplessness or frustration you may be feeling, especially around interrupted plans.
- It’ll help you build the resiliency and confidence to take on even bigger things in 2024. Remember what we said about how making mistakes is good for you? If you can overcome your fear of saying something imperfectly in 2023, it’ll set you up to overcome even scarier feats in 2024. Language learning today, asking out your crush tomorrow.