5 Reasons to Convince You to Study a New Language


Mempelajari sebuah bahasa asing bukanlah hal yang mudah. Nandra Galang Anissa pun mendua hati sebelum memutuskan untuk tinggal di negeri Cina untuk menguasai bahasanya. Meskipun mempelajari sebuah bahasa baru memerlukan dedikasi, komitmen, dan juga motivasi yang tinggi, Nandra berhasil meyakinkan dirinya bahwa ini akan membantu pengembangan pribadinya. Bagi kamu-kamu yang masih ragu, Nandra memberikan beberapa alasan yang meyakinkan untuk mengambil langkah pertama, diantaranya untuk keluar dari zona nyaman, mengembangkan pikiran, dan memajukan karir. Ayo simak tulisan Nandra untuk tahu lebih lanjut!

To be perfectly honest, I really shouldn’t be writing any of this because you shouldn’t even be asking why you should study a new language. However, it is of course understandable that making the decision to leave Indonesia and live in a country where no one speaks your native language is very daunting. On top of that, learning a new language takes a lot of dedication and commitment, not to mention a lot of motivation.

Admittedly, I also hesitated a lot before deciding to live in China and study Mandarin for a year. I have studied it on and off for quite a long time, and despite telling myself that I have to finally get at least close to fluent this time, the thought of living in China scares me. All these talks about pollution, crazy traffic, and virtually no English-speaking got me thinking that I won’t be able to survive it.

It took me a while to finally convince myself that I will be just fine, and that the challenge will be good for my personal development. And, indeed, after 6 months of living here it has been one hell of an experience. So, if you’re reading this, and still toying on the idea of taking that leap, here’s a few reasons that might convince you:

Learn a new language to step out of your comfort zone…

As if leaving home to study abroad isn’t stepping out of your comfort zone enough, leaving to a place where your language skills is limited will challenge you even further. It sure won’t be easy. However, your progress will be quicker than you could ever imagine. My progress in the first two months in China is far more significant than a semester in university, simply because once I’m in China I depend on the language to survive. Aside from the intense language classes I have to go to every day, once I step outside of the class, I would still need to use the language to communicate. You will definitely get lost in translation once too many times and you will be frustrated. But, trust me, it will make the learning experience even more interesting.

Learn a new language to discover a new culture…

When you go abroad to study a new language, you wouldn’t simply learn vocabularies and sentence structure. What comes in the package is the opportunity to be immersed in a culture that is completely different from your own and let your curiosity roam free. It is your chance to always ask why? Why do the Spanish like to eat so late into the night? Why do Chinese people always insist on buying you dinner and gifts, but refuse when being given gifts? What’s with the Chinese grandmothers blaring music and dancing in the park at night? These are the kind of questions you will inevitably ask during your study abroad and the answers will broaden your knowledge about the beautiful diversity that exist in this world.

Learn a new language to develop your mind…

There’s science to this, I promise, so hear me out. Studies over the years have concluded that fluency in more than one language could boost your cognitive ability, and could help you make more rational decisions. Some also said that multilingual people are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Science aside, though, my personal experience taught me that learning a new language required more rigorous thinking process, simply because forming sentences requires more effort than it used to. Additionally, you would most definitely meet with some lost-in-translation situations, which in turn will develop your problem solving skills.

Learn a new language to advance your career…

It’s really easy to be demotivated when learning a new language, and working towards a career-oriented goal might help with that. At least so far, it has worked well for me. I decided to study Mandarin because I’ve set a long-term career goal to work in an international news organisation based in Asia. Seeing that the major Asian news bureaus are based in Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong, being able to speak Mandarin would (hopefully) increase my opportunity to reach that goal. Whatever your career goal is however, the ability to speak a foreign language would most definitely make you stand out to employers, due to the soft skills you acquire such as adaptability and problem solving. So, who knows? It might just be a golden ticket to your dream job.

Learn a new language to meet people and grow your network…

Well, obviously when it comes to studying abroad this is a no-brainer. You’ll be surprised how many people from different corners of the world will be enrolled in the same language programme as you. Therefore, it becomes a great chance to network with a diverse number of people. More importantly though, when you study abroad to learn a new language, this is your opportunity to interact with the locals. Put the extra effort to reach out to the community around you not just to help you improve your language skills, but also to understand more about the country and its culture. Therefore at the end of your language studies, you won’t only bag an experience and a certificate, but also forge priceless friendships.


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