March 25, 2015
A recent article in The Economist reported how the substantial drop over the past 20 years by British school children learning a foreign language is likely to have a significant impact on the UK economy. British and multinational companies are actively looking for professionals who can speak one or two foreign languages and often end up employing foreign nationals, as none of the British applicants meet the language requirements. This ‘language effect’ is estimated to cost Britain £59 billion in lost exports. But, is this really all British school children are missing out on? Speaking a second language is not merely about communication: recent research shows its benefits in so many different areas, from neurological development and brain training, to increased ability to keep an open mind and think out of the box. And, of course, how can one truly understand another country’s culture without speaking their language.