December Is National Learn a Foreign Language Month!
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
This will be a post that is not medical or health-related but about my other favorite topic: languages.
Why Is Learning Another Language Important?
Here are a few of the reasons why learning a foreign language is beneficial:
It keeps your brain young - Studies have shown that people who speak more than one language have improved memory, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Enhance your resume - Speaking more than one language opens doors to new job possibilities.
Connecting with other cultures - Being able to communicate with someone in their own native language increases the human connection and warms the soul!
Travel opportunities - Learning a new language will encourage you to travel, speak, eat, and play in another country.
How to Get Started
It can be a little overwhelming when you first start learning a language, but with passion and persistence, you will be on your way to speaking, reading, and writing. Here are some steps to take to get started:
Choose what language interests you - Even if it's a difficult language, if you want to learn it, go for it!
Use a language app - Duolingo, Busuu, Rosetta Stone, and Pimsleur are all apps that I have used and recommend. Apps are a great way to get started.
Buy books - Find books that appeal to you. Activity books are always a helpful way to practice and learn. Dictionaries are a good place to start too.
Start talking - If you don't have anyone to practice with, seek out conversation groups in your area or check out apps like iTalki, where you can speak with a native tutor for a reasonable price. You may sound terrible at first, but trust me, you must start talking ASAP so you can become more comfortable. Over time, you will get better and better. Don't be afraid to make mistakes because we learn from them.
Start listening - Watch movies or tv shows in your target language, buy audiobooks that you can listen to in your car, or listen to podcasts. The more you listen, the more you will get used to the flow, rhythm, and words. Listening also helps with speaking.
Take a course - Taking an online course or an in-person course is a wonderful way to learn a language and meet new people.
Language Learning Is Fun
My interest in languages began back in high school when I worked at a restaurant with many Mexicans. I was fascinated by our language and cultural differences. Is was so fulfilling being able to communicate with someone who could not speak English. I got hooked!
Once I moved on to the university, I made it my goal to study abroad. I moved to Chile to practice, learn, and attend university classes there. There is no experience quite like moving to another country. It opens your mind and heart to so many new experiences.
Being able to speak Spanish has been very beneficial as a nurse. It is a wonderful feeling when you can speak to a patient in their own language. They are so relieved to know that someone can communicate with them.
I have always wanted to learn Italian since I was a little girl. I set my Italian learning aside until I learned Spanish. In my town, there were far more chances to speak Spanish than Italian. I finally decided to take the plunge and start learning about 4 years ago. I was mostly teaching myself the language, but gradually, I ended up taking college courses and online courses. I spent a month in Italy last year and was able to practice and learn.
Now, what's stopping you from learning? Get started today, and by next year you will be surprised at how far you have come and how much you have learned.