Why Learn a Language | Concordia Language Villages

Why Learn a Language

The Language Villages is an investment in a transformative experience for your child’s future. In our solidly globalized world, the attitudes, behaviors, knowledge and other outcomes gained through our immersion setting have successfully prepared thousands of Language Village alumni for higher education, vocation, career and engaged citizenship in communities at home and around the world.

While the Concordia Language Villages’ unique approach sets us apart, below are a number of benefits research has shown result from language study.

Educational Advantage

Beyond the obvious advantage of adding the skill of speaking in another language, research proves there are numerous valuable benefits connected to learning other world languages. Studies conducted at bilingual schools in Canada and the US indicate that children in language programs demonstrate greater cognitive development, creativity, and divergent thinking than monolingual children suggesting that world language proficiency among our citizens is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

  • Learning another language has long been linked to advancing math skills and benefiting higher order, abstract and creative [source: NCSSFL].
  • Learning another language enriches and enhances general cognitive development,especially in early language learners [source: NCSSFL].
  • Studies have shown bilingual students perform better in school and tend to be effective problem solvers [source: Center for Applied Linguistics
  • Data collected by the College Board shows students who study a foreign language score higher on standardized tests compared to their counterparts who have not studied a second language, and their SAT scores improved with each year of study. [source: College Board ].

Personal and Civic Advantage

Language learning fosters a sense of understanding and appreciation for cultural differences, thereby allowing those with second language skills to more effectively navigate multi-cultural settings. It further augments a number of skills that enhance to one’s ability to successfully contribute in social and civic situations over one’s entire life-time.

Another language provides direct access to new literatures, new science, new perspectives, and new peoples. Language learning is the act of holding up a mirror to one’s own society and beliefs. By seeing ourselves in the eyes of a person from another culture, we begin to more fully understand our own language, heritage and community values. This happens at the Villages because of our careful attention to teaching language IN culture in our grandly simulated environment. Our methodology, the CLVway sends our villagers beyond the Village gates with the confidence and courage to stretch their horizons and explore the world. Simply stated, we know that learning a world language makes you better. Not better off. Not better tested. Just a better person.

  • Research suggests that language learners develop a more positive attitude toward the target language and/or the speakers of that language. [ACTFL]
  • Studies show bilingual people have stronger skills in reasoning, multitasking and reconciling conflicting ideas. [source: Time Magazine]
  • Learning a language can even improve health and well-being. There is a correlation between bilingualism and delayed onset of age-related cognitive loss, including Alzheimer’s disease. [source: Time Magazine]

Career and Economic Advantage

Multilingual people develop global-mindedness, a set of unique skills and cultural competencies, adding significant value to what they contribute throughout their careers. According to a survey conducted by the Economist,the top skills necessary for a global workforce include developing cultural sensitivity, intercultural conflict management skills, and a deeper understanding of non-US cultures. The demographic mix of the United States is shifting dramatically. In 25 years as they enter the workforce, today’s youth will experience a job market that is not necessarily US-based or functions the same as the marketplace existing today. It is our responsibility today to prepare the next generation to be able to successfully navigate their personal and professional lives for decades to come.

Research conducted by The Modern Language Journal asked business professionals what competitive advantage foreign language skills and cultural competence gave them at work.

  • The majority of those surveyed responded that foreign language skills (82%) and cultural knowledge (89%) gave them a competitive advantage in the workplace.
  • More than half (53%) claimed a significant advantage from their language skills.

There are many reasons to study a second or third language. The career benefits noted above are exemplars. If life were all about school and work, these reasons alone would be enough. But, life is also about continual growth and discovery. It is about becoming a better citizen and making a contribution.

Through the process of accessing the world in another language we “arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” as T.S. Elliot so deftly explained. This is why Concordia Language Villages has been engaging tens of thousands of youth and adults in cultural immersion settings for more than 50 years, now in 15 different languages and their many associated cultures.

Language Learning In the News

Economist Blogs: What is a Foreign Language Worth?  (March 11, 2014)

NY Post: Speaking Two or More Languages Becoming an Essential Skill (October 19, 2013)

Time Magazine: How the Brain Benefits From Being Bilingual (July 18, 2013)