Having knowledge of a foreign language is increasingly beneficial in today’s society. One such advantage is that it looks excellent on a CV, as well as showing that a person has made the most of the opportunity to learn it. It is useful when applying for jobs and attending job interviews because it can prove to a prospective employer a willingness and ability to learn. When applying for jobs in the hospitality sector, foreign languages can be particularly useful for communicating with guests in hotels and restaurants.

Another benefit is that languages can open doors to a huge variety of employment opportunities. These jobs can range from teaching – either teaching English as a foreign language or teaching a foreign language – to translation. There is also the possibility of working in any sector, with the necessary qualifications, there are countless opportunities from retail to hospitality. Employment within the travel and tourism sector is a popular choice for people who are bilingual or multilingual. Writing, editorial, journalism and other similar media jobs are aided greatly through this additional skill.

Communication skills are enhanced and improved with knowledge of foreign languages. The ability to speak another language can improve one’s verbal skills. Listening skills are also enhanced when learning languages and so are written communication skills. Similarly, learning a foreign language improves knowledge of a person’s native language (i.e. English) because learning languages draws focus to the mechanics of language such as grammar, sentence structure and formation, as well as tenses. There is an increased awareness of language in general, and the ways in which language can be structured and manipulated.

Learning one or more foreign languages has advantages in terms of health. These benefits include an improvement in memory and becoming more perceptive, a better observer of surroundings and human behaviour.

When learning a foreign language, not only is the learner studying the language but they are also learning about the culture of the countries in which that language is spoken. An increased cultural knowledge is a huge advantage of language learning because it brings the language to life and gives the language a meaning and a purpose. Having a profound interest in the culture might well encourage people to travel abroad and experience the culture first-hand, which also provides an excellent opportunity to practice native speaking with the local people.

Having knowledge of one foreign language makes it easier to learn another language if desired later on in life. The skills of learning foreign languages are already stored in the brain; therefore these skills can be reused when learning a second or third language later in life. The structure of learning a second foreign language is very similar to learning the first one.

When is the best time for a person to start learning a foreign language? Personally, I think it is better to encourage young children to learn a foreign language early in their education. There are many advantages of this including being able to easily pick up a native-like accent and pronunciation causing fluency in the foreign language to develop earlier. Children are able to mimic and adapt to sounds and language much more easily than adults. Learning languages early on increases children’s confidence, literacy skills and university and employment prospects in the future. A lot of universities offer the opportunity for students to learn a language alongside their degree subject in order to improve employability which is a huge advantage for students of any career interest.

To conclude, from this, it is clear that it is extremely beneficial to learn one or more foreign languages in terms of employment, health and even leisure. Personally, I find learning languages highly stimulating and very fascinating. I would recommend that people learn at least one foreign language because it is a truly fantastic opportunity and you can develop many skills as well as your confidence in expressing yourself in different ways. My experiences of language learning have had a positive impact on my life so far. I have enjoyed studying French at GCSE and A Level and now at University too where I have also started to learn Italian, and German. It is interesting to see the links between the different languages and that the methods of learning the two new ones are similar to those I used when learning French for the first time, and I was surprised that I could pick up the new languages more naturally than I did French. I have been able to expand my English vocabulary through learning three foreign languages. I really enjoy learning them and I hope to go into a language-based career, either teaching or working abroad.