Do you remember your first trip abroad? Did you have a problem communicating with the concierge at your hotel, or perhaps the waiter at a restaurant, or perhaps a shop clerk didn’t quite understand you. This happens time and again for those of us who never learned a second language. It also may diminish the ability to fully enjoy a foreign city and all it has to offer.
Studies have shown that children can learn a new language from very early on and this is most beneficial to them in their adult years. More importantly, most public schools today house students who speak a combined language of over 30 or more, and it would be wonderful if all children were able to converse with their peers by learning several languages as well.
A lot of children really enjoy learning a new language and will fully immerse themselves in the process. If your children are young and you think they may benefit from being bilingual this is the time to get started.
Like most of us who have tried to learn a second language, older adults find it much more difficult. Perhaps there is too much on our minds to be able to absorb the new language in all its complexity. Therefore, when we travel to foreign destinations we make sure that we take along a dictionary so that we can at least learn specific words that are important.
Teaching a child how to speak a foreign language early on is important whether they travel with their family or whether they find a pen pal and decide to meet them sometime in their adult life. Moreover, foreign languages are not only complimentary to the ear, but allow one to fully become immersed in the culture and the history of the country visited.
While many people from foreign countries come to the US and at least attempt to communicate through the use of English, it is only fitting that we respond in kind by learning a second language to be able communicate with others no matter where we travel to.