Learning a foreign language adds an exceptional skill to your repertoire. Not only will you be able to travel abroad with confidence, negotiate with clients internationally, and rise in the ranks of a multinational company, but you’ll also develop new appreciation for other cultures.
Want to learn more? Read on for the top reasons why language learning and cultural awareness go hand in hand.
By interacting with others through language immersion courses, taking a trip abroad, or visiting ethnic restaurants, you can learn far more about a culture than you could in any book. When you study a new culture from afar, via textbooks, articles, and documentaries, you can learn all about the values, belief systems, language, and customs of a specific group of people. However, only by becoming physically and mentally present in a new culture will you experience that culture for yourself.
Participate in language immersion courses for a free exchange of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that will effectively open your eyes to a whole new facet of the world you live in.
Honing your second language skills by interacting with native speakers of your target language will accelerate your learning and help you build a genuine image of their culture. Even when your interactions with native speakers take place in the context of a class – through language immersion courses for instance – they’re still honest interactions. Put aside scripted role play and take your learning into the real world.
This element of honesty and unfiltered knowledge will make you more invested in your studies of both the language and the people. You’ll want to learn more about their hardships, their interests, and their aspirations. This genuine openness and interest in a culture may even lead you to pay more attention to what’s going on in other parts of the world.
Broadening your horizons can be new and exciting, but it can be very eye opening. Hearing about the hardships and discrimination that others are facing is very different than seeing and experiencing it for yourself. Becoming aware of a struggle that you never truly knew existed can change you. Language learning and cultural awareness is the first step on the path to true understanding.
Even if your experience is only filled with joyous occasions, it can still open your eyes to something new. Just seeing what other people around the world value and celebrate can make you realize what you’ve been missing or undervaluing. Taking language immersion courses, studying abroad, and spending time with people from other cultures will introduce you to new issues and help you develop as a free-thinking individual.
You may think that if you live in the United States, you’re not sheltered. While our society is a melting pot filled with a beautiful blend of different races, religions, and cultures, many of us still expect “Americans” to speak English, dress in a particular fashion, and generally fit in. If you were raised in a very urban area, you may have been exposed to other cultures at a very early age, but you could still be struggling with a language barrier.
Language learning and cultural awareness can help you break down that barrier. Once you have the ability to truly connect with, and understand, individuals from a different background than your own, you’ll become more accepting of any new cultures you encounter.
Studies show that once you’ve successfully learned how to speak a second language fluently, it’s even easier to pick up a third and fourth language. You already have the confidence that you need to succeed, as well as helpful strategies and developed cognitive abilities.
The same developmental structures that we use for language are also available to you when learning about new cultures. Once you’re out of your bubble, learning about others is easier and more fascinating than ever before! Those who have been truly inspired — either through language immersion courses or an experience when studying abroad — may be so open minded that they can’t wait to continue their journey of cross-culturalism.
Language immersion courses will help you develop an open, accepting mindset as you study. Here are a few different ways that you will change as you broaden your mind and change previously set worldviews:
At City Speakeasy, our foreign language classes are designed to teach students a new language in ways that are both fun and engaging. After our seven in-class lessons, students are given the opportunity to practice their skills in an immersive, real-world social setting. If you want to discover first hand just how a new language can change your world, enroll in one of our language immersion courses today!