It’s Thursday night and I am in my Arabic Class, taking a quiz. I am immensely stressed out, obviously overthinking more than I should, and trying to desperately remember the translations of "beautiful sister" in Arabic. I never remember the translations. I leave the class drained and mentally exhausted, feeling like a failure.
Now, these are usually the reasons (AKA the level of difficulty and mental training required) why people don’t want to learn a new language. At this point, the general assumption is to drop out of the class and do something else.
To be honest, I never planned on learning a new language, especially a language like Arabic. I neither have a background in it nor am I fluent in any other language besides English. The decision to learn a new language was a spontaneous one. Thinking back to that point, I realized that I was beginning to forget my motivation. So I decided to end my pity party. I decided to remind myself why I was learning a new language in the first place. Here are the reasons why I am pushing myself harder and pushing to do better to learn Arabic.
You get smarter
You literally work out your brain in every way possible. Think about it. You are challenging your brain to memorize a whole new language with different grammar rules and different types of pronunciation. It has been proven that your memory and critical thinking skills improve immensely.
You're more likely to find a job
Because of globalization, the world has become a lot smaller while the competition for jobs has grown. It is true that English is becoming the prominent language and there are more non-native English speakers learning English. Some argue that there is no need to learn another language when you speak English because English is becoming the global language. That may be true, but it does not change the fact that when you speak more than one language, you are more likely to get a job. Businesses and employers are looking for people who are adaptable and have analytical skills—all traits that multilingual people display. There are fewer limitations when you know multiple languages and it is a way to distinguish yourself from others.
You learn more about culture and communication
By learning a new language, you also inevitably learn about the culture that is tied to it. This allows you to travel and have a unique experience. By learning a new language, you close the gap that is evidently present with people who cannot communicate with each other. You learn how a group of people live, celebrate and communicate. The communication aspect is the most important factor because of your ability to listen, sympathize and engage with others improves.
Now, this does not mean you need to learn every language in the world or the language of every country you visit. What it means is that when you learn a new language, you are able to transcend boundaries. When you communicate with anyone, by speaking more than one language, you are a more conscious listener and communicator.
You have fun
Learning a language is not like learning math or literature. It's more like a never-ending puzzle, where you are are gradually putting together with some surprises. You can honestly learn a language anywhere. You are not bound by a classroom. There are videos to teach you, books to read and one of the few classes where talking is actually encouraged. Listening to music and watching T.V. and movies is also encouraged. Plus, everyone pretty much thinks you're a badass.