Five reasons why your next elective should be a language unit

June 07, 2017
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If you’ve got a few electives in your semester timetable you need to fill up, why not try a language unit? Not only will it give you excellent employability skills, studies show it actually makes you smarter. It’s incredibly useful to know a second language especially if you plan on travelling after your degree (and no, year 10 French doesn’t count). Here’s five reasons why I think you should take a language elective this year.

Increased employment options

Learning a second language gives you a leg up in your job hunting after uni. It’s a unique talent that makes you stand out from your competitors and it means you can also apply to global companies for a job. Second languages improve your multi-tasking, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. There are also many exchange programs where you can teach English in the country you are studying while travelling and learning the language. Sounds good to me!

Increases your brain power

A study has found that students who study a foreign language score better on math, reading, vocabulary and grammar tests. Learning a second language gives the brain a work out and makes your brain power stronger. It’s the most effective way to keep your mind sharp and prevent brain ageing.

So instead of choosing a random elective because your friend is in it and it’s easy marks, choose something that is more likely to improve your mind, your employability skills and the way your brain works.

Discover a new culture

Taking a language elective gives you the chance to explore different cultures and customs. You can learn a lot about a culture, but you cannot truly feel it without throwing yourself fully into it, and that begins with the language. The music, literature, people, food and arts are all the wonderful things that culture bring to our lives. It brings you a better understanding of the world we live in and grants you with a new perspective of the people customs and laws. If you want to become more open minded and knowledgeable, do a language unit and then spend a holiday in that country. It’s an eye opener to what you think you know about the culture.

Become more open minded

As you begin to learn a new language, you begin to understand it’s associated culture and the world views of the people who live there. Once you understand and appreciate parts of a culture and their systems, you begin to judge less and observe more.

Such as in Japan, blowing your nose in public is not allowed and you MUST wear special shoes when you go to the toilet. Now that sounded pretty wacky to me at first, but after studying the language for some time, I don’t even question it. Learning a second language definitely helps you see things from other people’s point of view and challenges your beliefs.

It’s impressive af

When you tell someone you speak a second language, the first thing they ask is, “Oh really? Say something!” Even if you speak a bunch of gibberish they’ll be so amazed and impressed that you’ll instantly be 10 times cooler. Imagine taking your date to a French restaurant and ordering the Coq au vin using the correct pronunciation. Your date stares at you in amazement and instantly falls in love with you. OK, so I can’t promise you this unit will make people fall in love with you, but it’s defs a starting point to a conversation and it makes you look cool af.

Sophie Nicolas

Sophie is studying a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and is an aspiring writer, dog enthusiast and thrift shop fashion icon.

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