The Financial Benefits of Learning a Second Language

There are numerous benefits to learning English as a second language. Being able to communicate in English opens so many doors on both a personal and professional level. If you’ve conquered the language, you’ll be able to communicate with people in many countries around the world and market yourself to potential employers. Those who are fluent in a second language tend to be more confident and have greater cognitive abilities as well. These are just a few of the many benefits; the list goes on and on.

But some people question the financial benefits of studying ESL. They wonder if it makes sense to invest in the process, not in terms of time, but in dollars and cents. Recent research sheds some light on the topic and shows the potential for long-term return on investment.

As a baseline, one study found that learning a foreign language can boost income by two percent or more. Taking lifetime earnings and projected compound interest into account, that could easily translate to $128,000 or more over the course of an individual’s career. It’s worth noting that this example uses relatively modest parameters–the income could be much higher than that for those students who pair their ESL studies with an in-demand university degree that puts them in a highly desirable position for employers. In these cases, students propel themselves from a position in which they may make a low hourly rate to a six-figure annual income. When factored in with a quality university education, the financial benefits of mastering the English language are even more substantial.


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