Tag: learning

Benefits of learning a language  

For many of us, learning a second language is nothing new. Some may have distant memories from school mustering up your first words in French including ‘Oui’ and ‘Comment tu t’appelles’. Others continued their journey, studying languages throughout middle and upper school and even into college or university. However, not everyone had this opportunity, the interest or the motivation to learn a language at that time in their life. 

Choosing to study as an adult feels more rewarding in many ways, primarily because you have a choice and can pick what interests you. There is a much wider variety of languages at your fingertips from Japanese to Portuguese, Arabic to Italian. Learning is more accessible, with content online 24/7 via apps, platforms such as YouTube, or taught as live short courses by professional native speakers at reputable institutions like City, University of London.  

If you are considering trying your hand at a second language, you will find many benefits that could make significant changes and improvements to your life, and not just professionally.  

Improving your memory 

Who would have thought that learning a language can help to improve your short-term and long-term memory? It is well known that we can build muscle memory through crosswords and puzzles, but research has also found that learning a language can help, as it promotes brain growth. It can help to recall words and places, which can benefit your work and everyday life. 

 Building new relationships 

It might be that you are considering picking up a specific language because you have met a partner who speaks in this tongue and you want to be able to communicate better to improve your relationship and connect with their family and friends. Alternatively, having friends or colleagues who speak another language could spur your interest to learn, surprising them with your new skills while feeling a sense of achievement. Plus, you will feel more involved in conversations where English is not spoken, and if your name is mentioned you might finally understand what is being said. 

Window to other cultures 

Taking a short course in a language means that you won’t just be learning new words and numbers, you will also gain an insight into the culture. You can discover popular traditions, celebrated holidays, what the locals eat and do for fun. We are lucky to live in a world full of diversity, and even if it might not be possible to get to the other side of the globe at this moment in time, you will get a glimpse of various cultures through native speakers who teach language short courses. 

 Creating exciting opportunities  

As well as benefitting both your health and relationships, this skill can open the doors to new opportunities. Depending on where you are in life you might want to study in a foreign land, purchase a retirement property near the beach or progress in work and land a promotion overseas – there’s really no downside to where it can take you. The world is your oyster! 

Keeping the brain in shape  

Numerous studies have shown that learning a language can help stimulate the brain and in turn aid the brain’s growth and development. It can also improve your concentration as supported by a study led by Dr Thomas Bak. Similarly, Swedish scientists performed scans to monitor the brain proving that learning foreign lingo can in fact increase the size of our brains. Evidence suggests that it may even lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

So, what’s stopping you? Join a short course by either starting at the very beginning with a language that interests you or build on your existing skills with an advanced level course. Find yours today at www.cityshortcourses.com.  

Copywriter embraces her heritage through City’s Chinese Mandarin short course

By Natasha Cohen

My name is Natasha Cohen and I’m a copywriter at Ocado, the online supermarket. I undertook two years of Chinese Mandarin classes at City, University of London and am currently continuing with a bespoke course.

I decided to take a course in Mandarin because I’m half Chinese but never learned the language. I realised that I wanted to be closer to my culture and heritage beyond family and food (which are brilliant in their own rights, of course).

The City short course ticked all the boxes for me: the institution has a good reputation, it was easy for me to get to, the course content was appealing and the price was right.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the course when I first started, other than learning words and grammar. What I’ve come away with is a foundation of knowledge about the essential structure of the language, which means that I can continue to learn in my own time.

I’ve also met some great people on the course and will definitely stay in contact with them. I’m quite a shy person but the environment at City is very supportive, and once you realise how much your language skills are improving, it’s a real confidence boost. Since starting this course I’ve been pushing myself to try new things and not be afraid of making mistakes.

There have been a few times when I’ve been able to surprise myself and use Mandarin ‘in the wild’. Not so long ago I visited a Chinese restaurant in Brussels where the staff only spoke French and Mandarin. At school I took GCSE French and am still okay at basic conversation, but nothing in my vocabulary covers Chinese food. After I asked the waiter ‘Do you speak English?’ in Chinese and he responded with mild panic, I was able to muddle through in Mandarin. I was nervous but I got by and it was a great moment. The waiter was relieved, too.

My current plan is simply to continue to study Chinese! I’ve been told that it takes five hours of study a day for 88 weeks to become fluent in Mandarin. With a full-time job and other weekly activities and distractions, it’s going to be a long journey for me – but I’m definitely in it for the long haul.

City offers short language courses at all levels in everything from Chinese to Arabic, Russian, French and Spanish. To find out more visit our language short course page. Or follow our twitter updates on @cityshortcourses.

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