Whether living between the Dutchies like myself, having moved somewhere in South-East Asia and being nice and warm or simply enjoying life in your country of origin, I simply cannot find a good reason why NOT to learn a new language. As an expat, it makes more sense to go for the local language – you might discover a whole different face of the society you live in: a friendly one :) As a non-expat, you can basically eeny meeny miny moe your choice and reap the benefits at a later moment.
There are obvious reasons why learning a new language can bring us added value. I will fast forward through these:
- You train your brain, increase its cognitive power and reduce its’ untimely aging.
- You become smarter and develop better decision-making skills.
- You increase your perception capabilities.
- You improve your employability and CV strength.
- You even improve your native language skills while focusing on grammar, structure and vocabulary for your newly acquired language.
These points have been studied and demonstrated by science across the last decade and we can safely take them as facts by now. If I think of it, this type of training would deserve its separate “brainy”#646 challenge :) Let me poke Manu and get back to you on that
The main point when writing this post was actually more on the ‘people’s’ side of things. This is the kind of added value that you can only see, hear and feel for yourself, analyze reactions around you and the ways in which people respond to your new skills. The best part of it is that new languages come in a combi package: you learn about a new culture at the same time. Even though you can very well do that separately, it will mostly be like watching a documentary. In turn, learning the language will give you the ‘real feel’, the bond that you can only get if you involve yourself fully. On the other hand, as a non-expat but lucky vacation-goer, you will get to enrich your travels, understand much more than those Instagram pics or all-inclusive resorts. You will get to understand the local experience, build long-lasting memories on top of that.
Living in the Netherlands has been a very joyful ride so far. Great friends, valuable people and a chill society that has the power to better your general everyday mood :) I have come to understand and get to know not only Dutch culture but many more cultures on the side – taking advantage of the huge number of international flavors Amsterdam has to offer. On the soft side, here are my top and self-discovered reasons for learning a new language:
- you earn people’s trust and respect
- your ego gets to be tickled every day as compliments will be thrown left and right
- you understand what people are talking about you … just don’t let them know right away
- you are free of dependencies and can enjoy your foster society fully
- the workplace experience is completely new and infinitely better … even though everyone speaks English
- during your learning process you get to meet awesome people – fellow students or maybe an amazing teacher. Hint, hint, Angela – many, many thanks
- sometimes you might find yourself being called by the municipality and given a huge flower bouquet[see above smiley picture] for your achievement; this might come across as unexpected, the ceremony is very flattering and involves projecting a video of you and your fellow-learners in front of everyone. Then they put you in the newspaper [autograph session to follow]
To wrap up, I looked at the main area that you train in the context of learning a new language. You train an open mind. We become more understanding, flexible and can better analyze differences between people. We learn that it’s OK for us to be different as long as we understand and respect each other . You might even get to understand your own cultural background better and how you are perceived by your peers. It can be a golden, eye-opening experience, worth the effort and valuable enough to trash those fake excuses :) Good luck!