There is a common belief that learning an additional language is best done earlier. But does that mean learning a new language in high school or beyond is futile? Definitely not! There are still plenty of benefits to picking up a new language a little later in life. Not only does it benefit you when travelling, but it is also a great advantage for one’s cognitive skills or academic and career opportunities.
Many schools offer several years of foreign language classes. Some classes are mandatory, while some are electives. Let’s explore what teens can stand to gain from diving into a new language in high school!
Ability boost in other subjects
When learning a new language, students are sharpening their mind. Research shows that bilinguals and multilinguals tend to outperform monolinguals in non-language subjects, including mathematics. As the brain switches between two languages and receives input in different forms, it is assessing the context in two ways and smoothing out complex patterns.
That is why knowing two or more languages is said to benefit the brain, such as boosting one’s executive functions – including aspects like memory, decision making, multi-tasking, and attention. It’s not just a language you’re learning – it’s all-rounded good for your brain!
A more competitive resume
Students with a 2nd or 3rd language on their school records are more attractive to college and university admissions officers. It is a fantastic skill to have on your application, and it will also show colleges that they have the ability to stick to a topic and, even better, that they value the importance of a well-rounded education.
At some schools, bilingualism is a prerequisite, and some other schools, knowing multiple languages may reduce the number of credits the student needs to take. So, while language learning takes time and effort, it’s advantages later on will definitely make your effort pay off!
Opportunities to discover new passions
Learning a new language can allow one to discover new interests as it opens your mind to new cultures. It could be new hobbies, such as growing an appreciation for French art films while studying the French language. Or it could also influence their future studies or career choice. For example, a person who picked up the Chinese language may want to go into Chinese Studies in university.
More academic and career options
A multilingual ability is definitely a competitive edge in today’s world. Knowing multiple languages opens one’s horizons to many more options of places and positions they can work or study at. For one, you are no longer limited to countries that speak your native language!
Regardless of the industry or skill level, languages are one of the most required skills of all occupations. Some of these opportunities include working in multinational firms, working as a translator/interpreter, or studying overseas.
It’s not too late to begin learning a new language in high school. Look out for schools that offer learning of additional languages, and better still if they offer support for taking the bilingual IB diploma programme in Singapore.