Learning a language, the gateway to international business

Learning a language allows you to exchange with people from all over the world, that's a fact.

But beyond this aspect, mastering another language such as English opens new horizons. Learning a new language develops many skills such as empathy, flexibility and cultural intelligence throughout the language journey. These significant qualities can be very important for an international future.

Bilingualism and the brain

Regardless of the language in which it operates, the human brain is an extremely complex organ. Many studies highlight the advantages of multilingualism, which in the past was not considered or even devalued for certain languages.

Although bilingual individuals are not necessarily more intelligent, researchers have discovered that the bilingual brain is more flexible and adaptable, especially as it ages. Bilinguals, for example, benefit from a 4 to 5 years delay in the onset of dementia and faster cognitive recovery after a stroke. Their brains also show an increase in grey matter in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that manages "executive function", allowing it to organize conflicting information, focus and solve problems more effectively.

Another study found that very young bilingual children showed greater cognitive flexibility by performing mental exercises, while a further study indicated that bilingual adults who switched regularly from one language to another developed higher mental flexibility.

Beyond the cognitive advantages, bilinguals have other significant qualities

Indeed, mastering a second language helps children develop other key skills. In one study, in particular, multilingual children were found to be more empathetic and better at communicating and interpreting because of the permanent gymnastics that their brains must perform. The result is a better understanding of others and the environment in which they operate and thus more effective work.

The connection with culture

The language of a country is closely linked to its culture, so bilingual or even multilingual people have a very definite advantage over others, especially when working with diverse backgrounds and origins.

Multiple studies have confirmed that bilingual people are more open-minded and culturally confident – two skills that are essential to succeed in (increasingly) international work environments and to feel comfortable in a constantly changing world.

Languages in the professional context

English is becoming more and more a basic skill in the professional world, even if today the level of English in France is still quite fragile, as shown by the results of the EF EPI English proficiency index.

Effective multilingual communication stimulates productivity and opens up new opportunities as jobs and projects become more global, but speaking several languages also has a tangible financial advantage. Skills in German, for example, can lead to a salary increase of 3,8 % and an additional lifetime income, estimated at USD 128,000.

The ultimate goal

Learning different languages is enjoyable, useful and, in many ways, essential for personal development. This is the best way to acquire cognitive benefits and essential skills such as empathy, adaptability and flexibility. These skills are attractive to anyone, but particularly important for the future of all those who dream of working, living or studying abroad.

EF, Education First, supports you in your English learning journey.