What are the benefits of learning at school in a second language?

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Speaking a second language can be an invaluable skill that will serve you well throughout your lifetime. If you speak 2 or more languages, or if your child learns in a second language at school. you will likely experience one or more of the following benefits:

Benefit 1: You become smarter

According to this article, speaking a second language improves your negotiation, reasoning, and communications skills, as you learn how to do each of these things in multiple languages.

Benefit 2: You become better at multitasking

Constantly translating a second language in your head means you also become better at processing multiple pieces of information at the same time.

Benefit 3: You stop or delay Alzheimer’s and dementia

For adults that only speak one language, the average age for the first signs of dementia is 71.4 years. For adults who speak two or more languages, the average age is 75.5.

Benefit 4: Your first language improves

Because you pay so much attention to grammar and vocabulary in your second language, you eventually bring that attention to your first language as well, and it makes you a better communicator.

Benefit 5: You can often apply for more (and better) jobs

Having a second language can be a valuable asset in your career, as being able to converse in multiple languages is invaluable for those who work in global companies or those who need to communicate with a diverse audience. Second languages can be especially helpful in business and healthcare.

Benefit 6: Families preserve their heritage language

Second and third generation Canadian citizens are much less likely than their parents and grandparents to speak their native tongue fluently. Enrolling children in a secondary language school program can help keep their native language alive, which also has the benefit of allowing them to communicate with grandparents and other relatives.

CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Whitney Loewen for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.

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