Youth Information, Training, and Resource Centers Logo with images of individuals with disabilities
Public Menu
Grantee Projects
Program Information
Resource Library

Why Learning a New Language is Worth the Agony

Most people aren’t going to just walk up to you and tell you outright that learning a language is easy. It’s not going to happen because learning a language is not easy and anyone who tells you otherwise is almost definitely selling something.

But though it may not be simple, learning a language is always, always, always worth the agony and by focusing on the things that really matter you can minimise the stress and frustration and find your way to fluency. It won’t be easy – but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare either.

Why is language learning important?

In a world as globalised as 21st century Earth, it can be easy to slip into the notion that the world’s largest languages – French, Spanish, English, Mandarin, etc – are the be-all end-all of linguistic necessity. This could not possibly be further from the truth. It is now more essential than ever for people – especially young people – to take up the cup and foster a worldwide culture of multilingualism.

Languages are essential for business

One of the most common reasons to learn a language – an increase in job opportunities is almost guaranteed for those willing and able to take the time to study a new tongue. Not only can learning a second (or third) language boost your likelihood of finding a new job, it can also sometimes lead to a pay raise or promotion at the job you already have.

More and more employers all over the planet are beginning to see and appreciate the benefits of having multilingual employees and if you want to get on that gravy train you’re going to have to push past the hardships, uncertainties and stresses that come with language learning.

Believe me, it’s definitely worth it.

Learning a language can make travel easier and more enjoyable

If you’ve ever visited a foreign country in which your language is not widely spoken you can certainly appreciate why being able to speak the local lingo might be a major boon. While it is true that a large and growing number of countries around the world are now beginning to utilise English in tourist locations and in general, it would be fallacious to state that “most of the world speaks English”.

That couldn’t be any farther from the truth.

While many do now speak some degree of English, you’re going to have a hard time getting by in many – if not most places outside North America, Northwestern Europe, Australia and New Zealand – though there are other exceptions. Many large countries such as those found in Africa, South America, Asia or Eastern Europe are less likely to be as easily navigable without a basic understanding of a local language.

Not only does being able to get by matter – learning a new language will improve the quality and experience of your trip abroad. Knowing how to speak the languages native to the places you’re visiting allows you to really dig into the culture, to talk to the average person and to go outside the boundaries of the sterile, boring, touristy spots. If you’re not able to speak the local language, you’re going to have a hard time getting inside the culture.

Language learning has many mental health benefits

Learning a new language can actually improve your brain and memory in a number of positive ways. Studying a language can improve your memory and your ability to rationalise and make more thorough and well formulated decisions.

There is even ample evidence to suggest that it can have a serious impact on the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related issues later on down the road.

No matter how you look at it – learning a new language may be frustrating, but with benefits such as these, and the possibility of an increased IQ, it’s becoming harder and harder to say no.

Learning a new language opens you up to a world of new entertainment

From books to movies to music, attaining a conversational fluency in a second language more or less doubles the entertainment available to you.

Language such as German and Russian have tens of thousands of books and writings that have never been (and may never be) translated into English. Simply by learning one of those two languages you immediately open yourself up to a lifetime of new reading material – material that likely includes an entirely new perspective unlike everything else you’ve read before.

Many countries produce a plethora of native language movies and television shows.

Take France for example!

France has one of the world’s oldest and most popular film traditions – to the point where “French films” are a genre all their own in the US and other English speaking countries. A countless number of French films – often not even dubbed or subtitled into other languages – are ripe for the taking and if you’re a movie buff you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you neglected to take advantage of the opportunity to broaden your film exposure.

The same can be said of India’s Bollywood film scene – now the largest in the world, beating out Hollywood by a wide margin.

You’ve never heard of a lot of the films produced in India because you don’t speak an Indian language. While it’s true that some Bollywood productions are written in English, many – if not most – are not, and may never be.

And of course there’s music as too. If you’re a metal head and don’t speak a Scandinavian language, you’re really missing out. The Nordic countries are known for their hard core rock and metal scenes and while again, some of that is performed in English – it is still mostly sung in one of the major Scandinavian languages.

This is just one such example of the countless musical repertoires from around the world that a student of a second language can be exposed to.


The above are only a taste of the myriad of reasons why learning a language is worth suffering through all the pain. The rewards are well worth the trials and if you go about learning a second language with motivation and goals in mind it doesn’t have to be as hellish as you think.