6 reasons why learning a new language is good for your health

By Tracey Chandler

Did you know that 100% of all participants who sign up to volunteer programs, working holidays and internships in Argentina, organised by Connecting Worlds, are interested in either perfecting their Spanish language skills in a native environment or taking a Spanish course with accredited Spanish teachers?

 

Did you also know that learning a second language has been scientifically proven as beneficial to your health?

25% of all participants who make enquiries with Connecting Worlds regarding programs in Argentina begin their enquiries by asking about the opportunities available to study Spanish or improve their Spanish language skills in a native environment. This means that 25% of participants interested in our programs make language learning one of their top priorities. This is great news for all language-learning enthusiasts as it appears that learning a language is not only fun and culturally inspiring, but also one of the best things you can do to improve your health and develop brain growth.

 

Show me the studies!

One particular study into the positive health effects to be had from learning a second language was conducted by scientists in India and the U.K. The study observed the cerebral behaviour of 648  bilingual patients, with an average age of 66 years, who had already been diagnosed with dementia.

Out of the 648 patients, 240 had already contracted the Alzheimers disease before the study began, 189 had contracted vascular dementia, 116 had contracted frontotemporal dementia and the remaining patients from the group had been diagnosed with mixed dementia. The results of the study, which took place over a number of years, proved that those people who spoke more than one language on average developed dementia 4.5 years later than those patients who could only speak their native language.

Another study which took place in Michigan State University focused on children who were studying in bilingual schools. The study revealed that not only did these children perform better in their language classes, but they also out-performed monolingual students on state math tests too.

 

There are many reasons why learning a second language is a step towards leading a healthier life, but here are six of the most impressive…

1. Build a larger, smarter brain

Areas of the brain continue to grow as a result of time and dedication towards language a foreign learning. The more you learn, the more you perfect your language skills in the foreign language, the more your brain will grow.

2. Protect yourself for longer from illnesses like Alzheimers and dementia

It’s been proven that while language learning cannot prevent Alzheimer’s, it can help to delay the effects of the disease in those people who are susceptible to it by as much as five years. Tests reveal that learning a language has a much more positive effect on the delay or Alzheimers and dementia than any of the drugs which are available to take on the modern market.

3. Remember things better

Other studies have proven that babies and young children who are brought up within bilingual environments have better, stronger memories than those who are brought up knowing only one language. These studies have shown that bilingual children find mental calculations and reading a lot less taxing than monolingual children.

4. Get better at multi-tasking

Do you find moving from one task to another at speed pretty difficult? If you do, you should try learning a foreign language. People with foreign language skills can multi-task with more ease and they also adapt more easily to unexpected circumstances and change. The bilingual person is less susceptible to the traumas of trying something new, having the elements of their day changes around, and to responding to new information quickly. This can help a lot with reducing stress levels in the light of unexpected changes.

5. An increased attention span

Bilingual people find it far less difficult to concentrate on individual tasks. They have a much higher attention span and they can control what’s happening around them to ensure that they are less affected by external distractions. Concentrating solely on the task in hand can also increase feelings of happiness and reduce feelings of stress or tension.

6. Get better and quicker at making decisions

If you feel that you ponder too long over decisions and you find it difficult to make up your mind, try learning a foreign language. Studies show that bilingual people make decisions quicker and they get less stressed about the decisions they have to take. The decisions that bilingual people make, according to a study from the University of Chicago, are also much more rational. Bilinguals are less influenced by changes in their emotional states. Apparently, bilinguals tend to think over the decisions they make in both languages. By taking the time to think them over in both languages, they end up making much more rational decisions because it takes them longer to get to the point at which a decision needs to be made.

 

More on the language learners at Connecting Worlds

Out of all the participants we receive in Argentina on the different programs we offer, visitors from Germany are the most interested and concerned about improving their language skills, and those from the U.S. the least worried.

Having said that, 100% of participants who sign up to our programs simply love getting familiar with Argentina’s Spanish language and our many lunfardo phrases and words. These colloquialisms are what really grab the attention of everyone who comes to visit. Taking into account the various scientific studies which have been undertaken, it’s nice to know that an interest in Argentine Spanish helps to strengthen the brain power of all those people who come to visit us 🙂

Greetings

Sign up to a program via Connecting Worlds today and make an effort to improve your foreign anguage skills. It won’t just be useful for you for travel purposes or as part of your career. It will also help you to lead a healthier, fuller life, even when you’ve retired and the the years just keep sailing on by.

If you are looking for Immersion programs or Responsible Tours in Argentina, visit our official website

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