10 Benefits of Learning English as a Second Language
If you want to achieve fluency in the English language, you need one thing most of all: motivation.
And motivation comes with having a strong reason (or reasons) for learning the language.
There are so many great benefits of learning English, from opportunities for travel, work and study to improvements in your brain function.
In this post, you’ll learn 10 of the greatest benefits of learning English to keep you motivated throughout your journey to fluency.
- 1. Connect to a Global Network
- 2. Increase Your Cognitive Flexibility
- 3. Gain Cultural Awareness
- 4. Travel Around the World
- 5. Boost Your Confidence
- 6. Improve Your Creativity
- 7. Enjoy English Entertainment
- 8. Build More Relationships
- 9. Pursue a Better Education
- 10. Expand Your Job Prospects
- Why Are Motivation and Goal Setting Important?
- And One More Thing...
1. Connect to a Global Network
One of the reasons you may be learning English is because it’s considered a global language. More than 80 countries have formally listed English as an official language. A total of around 1.5 billion people around the world speak English—that’s a fifth of the world’s population!
There’s a reason why English is one of the most common second languages: it’s one of the most commonly used languages across the internet and in academia. By learning English, you can connect to this giant global network of English speakers.
2. Increase Your Cognitive Flexibility
One of the greatest benefits of learning any second language is increased cognitive flexibility or, in other words, how stretchy your brain is. By switching between two languages, bilingual people build this flexibility.
It’s been shown that bilingual children show better attention skills and have a greater ability to switch between tasks. Author Tracy Trautner writes that “Bilingual children may have a superior ability to focus on one thing and change their response, easily indicating cognitive flexibility.”
When you learn a language, you’re learning more words and making more associations between words. This is helpful when communicating in English, but it can also be helpful for communicating in your native language.
3. Gain Cultural Awareness
Learning a second language can also teach you about a second culture, as language is a key aspect of culture. When you begin learning English, you’ll immerse yourself in the culture of English-speaking countries.
You may watch movies or shows made in America, England and other countries. Or you may practice English by speaking to a native speaker, which will help you understand their culture.
In their book, “Attitudes and Motivation in Second-Language Learning,” Robert C. Gardner and Wallace E. Lambert write that “The successful learner of a second language must be prepared to adopt various aspects of another linguistic and cultural group.” By adopting these aspects, you’ll gain cultural awareness and broaden your perspective on the world.
4. Travel Around the World
Learning English allows you to travel to countries across the globe and interact with the people and the cultures there. Not only will this expand your cultural awareness, but it’ll also give you access to so many memorable experiences that you might not otherwise have.
You’ll learn more about what makes your culture unique, and possibly find similarities in other countries. The more you travel and the more you learn, the more unique your perspective will be. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience new cultures around the world!
5. Boost Your Confidence
The beginning stages of learning English may be challenging, but they’ll help you improve your confidence. When you learn a language, you need to accept that you’ll make mistakes. It’s important to practice anyway and take risks until you see improvement.
Be proud of yourself for trying even when you do make mistakes! You’ll build confidence in your English-speaking abilities but also in yourself.
By practicing taking risks and showing your mind and body that there aren’t major consequences, you’ll feel more confident in facing your fears and taking risks so you can accomplish goals in other areas of your life.
6. Improve Your Creativity
As we mentioned before, learning English can help your brain become more flexible. This flexibility can lead to increased creativity in problem-solving and in the way you interact with the world around you.
You can also practice creativity by engaging with art made by English speakers. Speaking English will give you access to many creative products such as books, poems, movies, plays and more. Engaging with creative media will provide inspiration and help make you more creative.
Plus, by learning a language, you create patterns of learning that can help you in other areas and can be applied to the rest of your life.
7. Enjoy English Entertainment
Because English is spoken by so many people around the world, it’s one of the primary languages of entertainment.
Many movies, TV shows, songs and books were originally created in English. Beyond their creative and educational value, these media products are just plain entertaining.
By learning the language, you can experience art and entertainment in its native language. While language dubbing is super helpful for many people, there’s nothing like watching a movie or TV show in its original language with the voices of the actors who you’re seeing on the screen.
You can make a head start on this goal right now and study English at the same time, thanks to FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
8. Build More Relationships
One of the great things about learning English is that it connects you to people around the world. You can connect with more people on social media, as you travel and in your daily life. These connections can actually turn into relationships if you’re able to communicate well.
Learning a language can be a very social activity. As you study English, you may practice by having one-on-one conversations with English speakers or other students learning English. You may join study groups or find a pen pal, and you’ll probably meet other students in English classes who may not speak the same native language as you.
Speaking English is a great way to make connections with people around the world and build relationships that you might not otherwise be able to have.
9. Pursue a Better Education
Learning English can lead to greater success and opportunities in education. This is because English is often the primary language used in academia. Many scientific papers and other academic materials are written in English.
Also, knowing the language will allow you to attend a prestigious school taught in English. You can take classes on almost any subject imaginable and pursue whatever academic pursuits you want. This means that studying English can open up a world of possibilities for your future!
In addition to the opportunities you’ll have for a formal education, learning a new language provides you with the chance to continue learning throughout adulthood. A research report from the University of London showed that continued learning (such as language learning) through adult life leads to a happier lifestyle.
10. Expand Your Job Prospects
The business world relies heavily on the English language, and many jobs require English fluency. In fact, the demand for employees who can speak more than one language has doubled in recent years, according to the New American Economy.
Even when English isn’t required, it’s a valuable skill that puts you ahead of the competition. Knowing English can lead to promotions at work and better opportunities, which can lead to more money and a better job.
Why Are Motivation and Goal Setting Important?
If you don’t focus on the outcome of improving your fluency, you’ll likely struggle with the process. Understanding the potential benefits of learning English will keep you motivated and making steady progress.
There’s a difference between motivation and pressure. Motivation is something that gets you excited about learning English. For example: “If I learn English, I’ll be able to watch more movies in their original language” is a motivation. This is different than pressure: “If I don’t learn English, I’ll fail this class.”
One way to stay motivated is to set goals for yourself. These goals could be in one of the ten areas listed above. For example, you could learn English so that you can communicate more clearly or travel to an English-speaking country.
When you begin to reach your goals, you’ll see the outcome of your hard work and you’ll be even more motivated to continue learning.
By learning English, you’ll expand your world and your opportunities.
You’ll benefit from personal success, knowing that you accomplished your goal and changed your life for the better.
There are so many reasons to study English. What’s your motivation?
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.