I started learning Farsi just after college, inspired my friend Nabil Fakih who spoke it as a second language. Surprisingly I never learned languages like Spanish or French at school as many of my fellow students did, and this was really my first foray into a foreign language. After learning Farsi to a good level I decided to branch out a little and here I stand some 20 years on with 4 languages which I feel confident enough in to have a conversation with someone. Learning a language is amazing and something which I’d certainly recommend to anyone, and here is why.
Naturally one of the most compelling reasons to learn a new language, and in fact one of the principal reasons why I decided to do so was to connect with people. If you don’t speak any other languages and you haven’t experienced connecting with someone in their mother tongue rather than your own then I cannot stress enough just how amazing this feeling is. This is compounded when you speak with someone who actually can’t speak English, and the only way that you are able to converse is through your knowledge of their language, this truly is a remarkable thing to experience and something which I would really recommend.
Studies have shown that learning a new language is actually very good for your brain and your overall brain health. The reason for this is that when you do learn a new language you make more connections in the brain than when learning any other topic. This increases brain function and contributes towards a healthier brain. The truth of the matter is that learning a new language is actually great for your health.
If you have left education then it makes sense to only go back to education or indeed to learning if you are going to be learning about something which you will actually be able to use. Going back to geography and learning about sedimentary rocks may not exactly by a good idea unless you plan to go into a career within this field, whereas learning a new language is knowledge which you are going to be able to use. This is a great way to get back into education and ensure that you learn something which will come in handy in the future.
One of the things which I most love about learning a new language is that you can clearly see signs of progress which then motivate you to keep going. Perhaps you are now able to conjugate a verb which you previously couldn’t, or perhaps you are starting to actually think in the new language, whatever it is you can see this progress very easily and it really does inspire you to keep on going and keep on working hard.
Why not give it a try this year, pick a new language that you have a fancy for and try to get to a conversational level.