Learning a new language can be a fun experience that is extremely rewarding. One of the main benefits of learning a foreign language is that it can enhance one’s engagement with different cultures. I had this experience when I visited Germany. By being able to converse in German, I was able to have a wider array of cultural experiences in that country—from being able to have conversations with locals to finding my way to places that are off the beaten path.
Facility for foreign languages also allows one to engage more robustly with the cultural products of a different country—from watching films and reading literature in a foreign language to accessing international perspectives on political and societal issues.
Not only does learning a second language have cultural benefits, but it has cognitive benefits as well. A Swedish study has shown that learning a second language can increase the size of the brain. These changes in the brain allow for the optimization of neural networks and can contribute to the enhancement of one’s cognitive skills. There has also been some research to indicate that being bilingual can play a role in delaying the onset of dementia and even preventing Alzheimer’s.
The Library has some incredible resources that give you the opportunity to learn a second language, all of which are free with your MCPL Access Pass (Library card):
- Gale Courses offers online classes that run for six weeks. Signup for these courses is necessary, and they usually start in the middle of the month. Expert instructors teach the courses and give one the experience of taking a foreign language course that normally would cost over $100.
- Mango Languages offers self-paced lessons on over 70 foreign languages, including American Sign Language, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Japanese, and Spanish. These lessons are highly interactive and can be accessed directly from your personal computer or through an app that is downloaded to your digital device.
- MUZZY Online offers the opportunity for children to learn a foreign language with age-appropriate lessons that are interactive and self-paced.
Learning a foreign language is a great way to experience different cultures and to enhance one’s cognitive abilities. Check out these Library resources to begin your exciting journey of learning a new language.
Woodneath Library Center