Study Another Language in Europe

in Trip Planning

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a college student to be able to study a language abroad. There are many short and long term programs designed for adults looking for personal enrichment and intellectual stimulation. Some of these programs even offer scholarships, so it’s worth it to inquire to see if you might qualify for one of these. Here is an overview of the benefits of studying a foreign language as well as some options for programs around the world.

Benefits of Foreign Language Study

The benefits of foreign language study are great.  Not only are languages enjoyable to learn, but they can also enhance your life in many ways, both personal and professional. The best part is that, unlike many other hobbies, language learning can be a lifelong pursuit.

Benefits While Traveling

For travelers, knowing a foreign language is priceless. Not only will it assist you during your travels in countries where the language you know is the principal language spoken, you’ll also be surprised at how frequently you’ll use your second language in other countries as well. Common European languages like Spanish and French tend to be the most useful in terms of travel, but learning any language is beneficial.

Keep in mind that even limited knowledge of other languages can help travelers understand local cultures better than those who don’t speak the language at all. Being able to speak and understand the local language will also help you make connections with people and perhaps develop lifelong relationships.

There are many opportunities to learn a European language in an immersion context.

Intellectual Benefits

Did you know that learning another language can increase your understanding of your first language? Bilingual individuals tend to understand grammar and linguistic nuances better than monolinguals. In addition, people who speak another language have access to intellectual concepts that can better (or only) be understood by those who speak the target language. Scholars agree that there’s nothing better than reading literature and philosophy in the language in which it was originally written.

Health Benefits

Learning another language is a good way to exercise your brain, your body’s most important muscle. Studies have shown that individuals who learn another language are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, dementia and other brain diseases. Moreover, learning another language stimulates the mind and improves memory and cognitive skills.

Professional Benefits

It’s no secret that the world is becoming more and more globalized. This phenomenon has increased he need for individuals who can communicate in a variety of languages. Of course, translators and interpreters are always needed, but so are professionals who are simply proficient in another language.

In some fields, languages have even become a requirement for job seekers. At the very least, being proficient in another language gives professionals a competitive advantage in many fields such as medicine, government, business, education (teaching abroad) and media.

In a general way, foreign language skills allow professionals to communicate with a wider and more diverse group of people and provide for more mobility and an increase in professional opportunities in other countries.

Learning Another Language

As any language educator will tell you, one of the best ways to learn another language is to immerse oneself in the country (and culture) where the language is spoken. There are many European language programs that offer either short or long-term language learning programs. Many of these courses are designed for working professionals who take their vacation or professional development time to participate in a language-learning program abroad. It is important to research a variety of programs to find the right one for you based on your timeframe, budget and language-learning goals.  Below is a resource list to get you started.

Resource List

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