As an Australian, I used to be happy knowing how to say diddly-squat in other languages. For a while, I was determined to be fluent in French, for the standard clichéd reasons: It sounds hot and I thought it would make me seem more intelligent (still hoping this will happen). I’m now on the cusp of being conversational in German, but I can’t tell you the number of times I asked myself why I didn’t commit to language learning sooner. Because I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did, I’m going to walk you through the Top 4 reasons why Aussies should be adding another language to their repertoire.
1. Become A Better Traveller
Look: As good as a trip to Bali can be, sometimes you want to travel to places where you can swing a cat without hitting a fellow Australian. And when you do, you’ll find that knowing a bit of French, Spanish or German, will save you time, money and embarrassment. It should come as no surprise that learning another language allows for a deeper connection with people, fosters empathy, and makes for a much more meaningful experience. More than that, engaging in an unfamiliar language can give you a different perspective on a culture, people, and history beyond your immediate experience.
And yes, you might mangle the language for your first few days, but locals love it when you make the effort. It’s like your mum always said: everyone will like you if you just be yourself and try your best. See a fellow Aussie learn Italian for her trip to Italy here:
2. Greater Employability And Business Prospects
A 2016 report by the Foundation for Young Australians found a gobsmacking 181% increase in demand for bilingual skills over the last 3 years. Crikey! Looks like we should have paid more attention in Year 2 French.
Realistically, young Australians are likely to be working in culturally diverse communities and in global companies with international clients. Languages are the skill we’re most likely to benefit from — but as a country, we’re lagging behind.
A 2016 report found a 181% increase in demand for bilingual skills in the Australian market over the last 3 years.
Meanwhile, if you want to improve your business prospects in emerging economies, communication and local language knowledge are key. According to a report by Fortune, Australia’s top emerging markets are India, Indonesia and Malaysia. That’s right, we’re back to the Bali Trip. Did you know Indonesian is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn? Um, sign me up.
3. Language Learning Benefits Your Brain
When your brain has to change between multiple languages, you naturally become better at a whole host of things. It’s been proven that bi- and multilingual brains are more creative, stronger at problem-solving, and have a better working memory than those who only speak one language. All of these also support your ability to learn in other subject areas. Did you know studies also suggest that you can also combat dementia and Alzheimer’s with language learning? Better yet, these benefits aren’t just for individuals raised bilingual, but also for people learning languages in adulthood. How good!
Multilingual brains are more creative, stronger at problem-solving, and have a better working memory than monolingual brains.
4. You Can Learn A Language In Just 20 Minutes A Day
Despite everyone having the same 24 hours each day, most of us claim to have no time. But what if you could learn a new language in only 20 minutes a day? With the language learning app Babbel, you can slide in at any time because their lessons are only 10 to 15 minutes each. Chuck one in between each episode of a Netflix binge and you’ll be bilingual in no time!
They even adapt their courses to your learning style and native language! For example, if you’re an English speaker learning German, the app points out tricks like how bringen is similar to its English equivalent “bring.” It’s also extremely cost-effective, and the first lesson is free!
And in my experience, Australians love to put a spin on words and give birth to new phrases. Think of how many languages you could tell a good drop bear story in? The possibilities are endless!