Bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, higher salaries, a cognitive boost and even protection against dementia.
A lot of research has been done on the bilingual mind and it seems that going back and forth between languages is a kind of brain training, pushing your brain to be flexible. Just as regular exercise gives your body some biological benefits, mentally controlling two or more languages gives your brain cognitive benefits.
So as expatriates living here in Spain it really does pay off to raise children in a bilingual environment from the moment they are born.
The mental flexibility of being able to jump from one language to another pays off big time in the future, and especially when looking for a job.
According to experts, the reasons why being bilingual is so rewarding are numerous. Bilinguals are better at multi-tasking. Apparently children who grow up learning to speak two languages are better at switching between tasks than children who speak only one language.
Bilingualism makes you more open-minded and sensitive to others. Bilinguals have an enhanced awareness of other people’s points of view, born from their deeper understanding, from an early age, that some people have a different perspective. This, according to the Financial Times probably makes bilinguals better managers.
Another study found bilingualism enhances your listening ability. It showed that in a noisy environment bilinguals are better at detecting the different sounds, therefore enhancing attention, which in turn is a valuable workplace quality.
Bilingual children are noted to score high in tests and exams due to advanced thinking skills, while bilingualism also offers children a direct path to live and work abroad, and perhaps even easily pick up a third language in the future.
A study from the US also shows that significantly higher salaries are paid to bilingual speakers than monolingual speakers!
So where jobs are scarce, ensuring that our children are proficient in a second language, also ensures a more financially stable future.