News & Updates

The Benefits of Learning a Second or Third Language

Learning a second or third language can bring many benefits to a student’s future. For example, a positive impact on cognitive abilities. Professional opportunities, personal growth, educational, social and cultural interactions. Here we explore, the various benefits of learning a second or third language.

Cognitive Benefits

One of the significant benefits of learning a second or third language is the improvement of cognitive abilities. Studies reveal bilingual students experience better working memory. And the ability to switch between tasks than those who only speak one language. 

Speaking more than one language can improve problem-solving skills. Allowing students to think more clearly and consider many perspectives. It also increases brain plasticity. in other words, the ability of the brain to adapt and change in response to new information. This encourages creativity in the student and helps in their ability to learn new things.

Professional Benefits

In today’s globalized world, the ability to speak more than one language is a valuable asset in the job market. It opens up new job and business opportunities and career advancement opportunities. 

In business, for example, speaking Mandarin opens up a massive market to tap into. Putting you into a unique position. The Chinese market is a very intricate market and the only way to get your head in the door is by learning their language and culture.  

Speaking more than one language helps to increase cultural understanding and empathy. Understanding another culture’s customs and ways of communicating helps build better, stronger relationships with people from different backgrounds. 

This can lead to increased productivity and improved teamwork.

Personal Benefits

Learning a second or third language has many personal benefits too. Especially a young person. It can enrich travel experiences. Improve relationships with people from different backgrounds, and increase self-confidence and independence. Qualities many parents would want their child to possess.

Enrich their travel experience:  Travel on its own broadens the mind and having the ability to talk and learn other languages makes travel easier and enjoyable. It becomes easier to engage with other cultures too.

Communication with locals in their language is exciting. Although, it can be challenging when you can’t speak the language. Conversing in another language gives you a more authentic and deeper cultural understanding. Especially visiting unfamiliar places and ordering local food or calling a taxi.

Improve relationships with people from different backgrounds. Knowledge of other languages allows students to understand and connect better with different cultures. This can lead to meaningful friendships and better professional relationships. Students become more open-minded and tolerant of one another.

Increase self-confidence and independence:  People become more comfortable in unfamiliar settings and know how to navigate new situations. This gives a sense of accomplishment and pride. More self-esteem and confidence. These valuable skills can benefit the student in many aspects of their life.

Educational Benefits

Learning a second or third language brings educational benefits as well. Better academic performance, and improved ability to learn new subjects. Languages help to retain information and increase cognitive development and critical thinking skills. 

Better academic performance: This is the most significant benefit. A second or third language improves academic performance. Studies show that students who learn a second language perform better than those who only speak one language. 

Students have higher standardized test scores, particularly in math and reading. They also have a higher level of academic motivation. And a greater likelihood of graduating from high school and attending college.

Improved ability to learn new subjects and retain information: 

Studies have shown bilingual students have a cognitive advantage over monolingual students. Particularly in the areas of memory, attention, and problem-solving. Bilingual students are also better equipped to multitask. Switch between tasks, and filter out irrelevant information. Improving these critical thinking skills allows more creativity.

Increased cognitive development and critical thinking skills

Bilingual children have a greater ability to focus and pay attention. Learning a second or third language helps to improve cognitive flexibility. Learning a second or third language can help to improve cognitive flexibility and executive function. 

Students can think more clearly, solve problems, and make better decisions

Social Benefits

Knowledge of a second or third language also brings social benefits. The ability to converse in the same language as a foreigner is an asset. It creates a better understanding and tolerance of other cultures and social connections. This can also expand networking opportunities and create new friendships.

Cultural Benefits

Finally, languages bring cultural change and benefits. It can lead to a greater appreciation for other cultures and enhance cultural understanding. It can also foster a more open-minded and tolerant perspective. This is often the case with people who work in foreign countries for an extended period.

At Harrow International School Hong Kong

The primary language in classrooms, boarding, playground and houses for pupils in English. We also offer simplified Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish and French language classes to pupils.

Pupils learn Chinese from the 1st year. Year 1 to 2 lessons are conducted for 16 hours per month. Years 3 to 9 receive 12 hours of tuition per month. Years 10 to 12 can choose Chinese for the General Certificate of Secondary Education A Level.