Two students holding flags

The bilingual bonus

Studies show that learning a second language can help you get a better job, a higher paycheck, and improve your mental focus. Sí, it's true. But wait, there's more.

Research also shows that bilingualism can help fight off dementia and delay Alzheimer’s by four-to-five years, sharpen cognitive skills, improve memory and decision-making skills, and even reshape how we see the world around us.

When it comes to the workforce there are huge perks for bilingual speakers. According to research performed by Burning Glass Technologies, employers increasingly desire workers who speak multiple languages, particularly in industries that provide services involving a high degree of human interaction. The same report sites the top three languages employers look for when hiring—ChineseSpanish, and Arabic—all classes you can enroll in for fall!

Want to work in Europe? German is the most in-demand by employers, especially in southern European countries like Spain and Greece. Check out ASU's study abroad programs. Because why not learn a language in its native country?

But what exactly is the ROI on learning a foreign language? Well, it's a hard one to quantify. A study by The Economist found that you can expect to make an additional 2% in earnings. Ok, so you might not be rolling in that all red Lamb', but over time it adds up. Consider this, the study uses a $45,000 starting salary, assumes a 1% salary increase per year and a 2% average real return over 40 years. That original 2% language bonus now turns into an extra $67,000 (at 2014 value) in your retirement account. So go ahead, get the guac.


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