Why You Should Study a Foreign Language

Mar 09, 2011

You've probably heard before that studying a foreign language is good for you. It may have even have been required for you to get out of high school. But what, really, is the benefit behind learning a foreign language? Well, it turns out there are a lot of them, and some are pretty surprising!

View popular schools

By Eric Garneau

spanish language


The most common argument for studying a foreign language is probably that it looks good on a transcript, and that's true. In fact, foreign language courses in high school may get you out of some required classes in college. Beyond that, though, numerous studies have shown that taking a foreign language actually improves grades and standardized test scores in many subjects. Moreover, the benefits accrue with each year studied. A potential reason: engrossing yourself in another language requires you to think critically about something which you essentially took for granted before, namely the structure of language and its use in day-to-day communications.


Foreign language studies don't just look good on transcripts - they look great on resumes, too! Knowledge of a foreign language might give you the edge when you're on the job hunt. As technology makes our world smaller and the economy becomes more and more globalized, many businesses have a growing need to employ workers who can effectively communicate beyond their native tongue.

cafe languages

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • African Languages
  • American Indian Languages
  • Arabic Language
  • Biblical Languages
  • Celtic Languages and Literature
  • Chinese Language
  • Czech Language
  • Danish Language
  • Dutch and Flemish Language
  • Filipino and Tagalog Language
  • French Language
  • German Language
  • Greek Language - Classical
  • Greek Language - Modern
  • Hebrew Language
  • Indian Languages - Classical
  • Iranian and Persian Languages
  • Italian Language
  • Japanese Language
  • Korean Language
  • Latin Language
  • Norwegian Language
  • Polish Language
  • Portuguese Language
  • Romanian Language
  • Russian Language
  • Scandinavian Languages
  • Spanish Language and Literature
  • Swedish Language


One of the larger, somewhat less direct benefits of studying a foreign language is immersion in a foreign culture. This experience helps you see the world as others do. That's a necessary skill in the modern world, and more urgent still if university life is in your future. As a freshman in college, you'll be exposed to people and ways of life that you've never encountered before, especially if you live in the dorms. Why not get a head start on that experience?


According to a recent study from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, being bilingual actually has positive effects on one's brain chemistry. It's been shown to ward off the onset of Alzheimer's disease in susceptible adults for four years or more. The reason? It's the same as why language studies improve your academic performance: knowledge of two languages engages one's mental capacities, especially in that it helps subjects filter out irrelevant material (words in the language you're not speaking) and focus on what's important (words in the language you are). Though it can't prevent Alzheimer's or similar conditions, bilingual ability does allow people to better cope with and combat eventual mental deterioration.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • BS - Media Communications (Campus)

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your age?

    • Master of Arts in Communication - General
    • Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration
    • Master of Arts in Communication - Undecided

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Ph.D. in Literacy
    • Ph.D. in Literacy: Educational Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Literacy: Special Education
    • Ph.D. in Literacy: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
    • Ph.D in Literacy: Literacy

    What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?