July 16, 2019

Learning another language compares to a workout for your brain. New pathways will open inside of your head that will improve the quality of your daily activities, and enhance your brain health.

Scientific and linguistic studies prove that unlocking those new grooves will postpone dementia as well as the onset of Alzheimer’s. Picking up that language app, will also help you multitask, understand better other subjects, improve your memory, and enhance your decision-making skills.

And there is more. Do you know what else ensues when we add culture to that throve of goodies? We probably all agree that the more open-minded one is, the more richness we can add to our life. Exposing oneself to other ways of understanding the world will foster tolerance, harmony, and compassion. Are these aptitudes too soft for you? Then add confidence, networking skills, and a global viewpoint that will serve you well when you interview for your next job.

These days, public libraries are offering free access to and use of sophisticated language programs like Rosetta Stone and Mango. There is also a plethora of language apps such as Babble, Duolingo, Busuu, and Quizlet – to name a few- that customize your learning pace making it fun and creative. Or perhaps you would you consider watching a foreign independent film in the original language with subtitles in English? Just observe how other cultures make movies. What does that tradition I see reenacted on the screen mean? Why do they have this or that reaction to a specific situation (a behavior that seems foreign to me)? Why is the movie topic of interest to that country? The more we learn about others, the more we feel our connection to universal topics, to the richness of our diversity, and to the need for compassion for all.

My point is that nowadays, technology can open distinct and exciting worlds for us when we use it for good. There is no excuse for not stepping out of our daily and habitual comfort and miss the richness of other ways of participating in life.

And then, of course, there are all other forms of art. Many of us cannot afford a vacation abroad, but we can go to a museum and imbibe on foreign beauties. Still easier, how about chatting with that neighbor that looks different from you? Find out about her culture, inviting him for coffee and develop a friendship with that “other” that turns out to feel just like you.
So there you have it: a healthy brain, and a compassionate heart. That is what other languages and cultures can do for you.