Baby &Kids · Education

Summer Break Strategy: Foreign Language Learning

Summer is coming, and after the first couple weeks, you’re bound to start hearing, “Mom, I’m so bored!”

Instead of letting boredom take over, you’ll probably start scrambling to find the kids something to do. It will keep them occupied, and keep you sane. It’s always a bonus if one of those things is educational. One of our favorite ways to combat the summer doldrums is by having children learn a foreign language. Bilingual children have higher cognitive processing when both languages are spoken and understood with fluency. These skills also help them build a deeper empathy for people of different cultures, and could come in handy during salary negotiations when they start their career later in life.

With the advent of modern technology, you don’t need to drive them to lessons twice a week. Learning a new language is as easy as powering up the computer or iPad. One of our favorite tech platforms for language learning is Verbling. They match you up with a native-speaking teacher and connect you through their platform for video lessons. There is a strong emphasis on learning through conversation, which is an excellent way to learn a new language.

If your child needs some help deciding which language to pick, here are some great options available on the Verbling platform.

Spanish

More people in this world speak Spanish than speak English, and that trend is expected to continue. As an American, this may be the most practical second language to learn as it’s the one you’re most likely to run into in your day-to-day life or continental travels.

Depending on where you are from, the Spanish language will change a little. For example, Spanish in Mexico varies slightly from Spanish in Spain. Verbling has tutors from Spain, Colombia, Mexico, the US and more.

Mandarin

Where Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, Mandarin is the first. This is another trend that is going to continue.

When you’re talking about languages to learn for the sake of business, this is it. Over a billion people speak it, but if you’re an American who does so, you can land a pretty penny for your skills if you stay in the US as not that many people stateside can profess fluency.

Arabic

Arabic is an important language to our government as we continue to be involved in conflicts in the Middle East. Studying in this field could lead to a future job as an interpreter.

We don’t only like this language for potential career reasons, though. Language is one of the unifying forces behind culture. When we learn a foreign language, we inevitably pick up on cultural norms and traditions that were once…foreign to us.

By learning a new language, and being able to communicate fluently, we can tear down some of the barriers that divide us by learning to respect one another.

Russian

The US was involved in the Cold War with the USSR for decades. Arguably, even though the Berlin Wall came down, we’ve continued to fight Russia in foreign lands before and since Mr. Gorbachev left office. This is another language that our government is likely to continue to need interpreters for on a regular basis, and instruction is not as prolific on this continent as French, German or Spanish, lowering the competition threshold.

Again, here we like the aspect of language learning that tears down barriers through not just linguistic education, but cultural education and exposure, as well.