Benefits of Bilingualism


Sophomore, Ava Bottone, does work in Spanish class. Photo by Mollie Quill

Mollie Quill

The foreign language classes offered at Oakmont are often viewed by students as mandatory, unnecessary, and strenuous. But many don’t understand the vast amount of advantages that come with the learning of a second language. 

Oakmont requires a minimum of two language classes and many colleges prefer that future students go beyond that. As spanish language student, Skayla Nolan says, ‘It enables new learning opportunities.” Not only does studying a language provide a more well-rounded education, but there are various career options for those who speak various languages fluently, such as a foreign language teacher, foreign correspondent, and study abroad coordinator. 

 Beyond these options and looking ahead to when students enter the job market, multilingualism will be a helpful tool to have in most workplaces. Communication is essential in consumer service and working with colleagues. Businesses appreciate employees who are able to communicate with more customers easily and being able to add “fluent in a second language” on an application, will do nothing but help those searching for a job. 

Being multilingual also has a profound effect on the mind. Language teacher and head of the French Honors Society, Mrs.Therrien remarked, “One of the best ways it helps, is that it builds your brain. If I hadn’t focused on languages, I don’t think I would have gone as far educationally.” 

According to neurologist Dr Mariano Sigman, bilingual people have better cognitive control, which means they have “the ability to pay attention, the ability to plan and the ability to switch tasks easily.” Sigman also says, “People who have good cognitive control do well at school, typically find better jobs and are healthier. They have better social insertion.”

Most people have aspirations to travel and explore the world, and it is unfair to expect those in another country to alter the way they communicate with you, in their home country. Understanding a foreign country’s native language makes it easier to get around. Additionally, it will make it easier to understand another culture for it will mean more opportunities and being able to communicate with locals. “It’s my goal to travel a lot, and being multilingual will make that possible.” remarked Emily Murphy, a spanish language student. 

One of the biggest advantages of bilingualism is the ability to make connections with far more people. According to Mrs.Therrien, “It is important to communicate with people regardless of their culture and upbringing. It’s amazing how much you learn from those who never learned your language.” 

We live in an age where we can easily connect with people all around the world. We can be satisfied to connect solely through social media, books, music, television and movies. Or we can reach further.  By learning another language, as Mrs. Therrien says, “There will never be world peace until we can communicate with, and understand each other.”