Learning Italian is the ideal way to get in touch with the culture of the Bel Paese and discover all of its facets. But this is only one of the many benefits of learning a second language.

Learning a foreign language can open up new perspectives on the world and grant us opportunities for personal and professional growth. But the benefits of learning other languages extend to the cognitive level as well, by keeping the brain active and young, improving memory and creativity.

Have you been contemplating studying Italian to make the most of your dream trip to the Bel Paese? Well, we are here to provide you with even more great reasons to embark on this adventure!

The Top Benefits of Learning a Second Language

In the next paragraphs, we will discuss the many benefits of learning a second language. Some probably won’t sound new to you; for instance, it’s easy to imagine how being able to speak several languages could open up new career possibilities. But did you know that learning another language can improve your cognitive skills and creativity as well? It’s never too late to know.

Enhanced Cognitive Abilities

No doubt learning a new language requires a fair amount of effort from our brain. But after all, even a gym session or a match of our favorite sport makes our muscles exert effort. And just as it happens to our bodies, which get stronger and improve through continuous physical activity, our brains and cognitive abilities also benefit greatly from stimulations, such as learning a second language. Many studies show how the activity required in this process stimulates the brain, even changing its structure. There is no right age to start: researchers confirm that learning helps maintain cognitive function later in late adulthood.

By setting some time apart every day to learn a new language, even a small amount of time, we are replicating the effort and stimulation that will make our brain more active and “young”. Learning a new language is shown to improve memory, and increase multitasking skills and general executive functions, all while delaying cognitive decline. What more could you possibly ask for?

Learning a second language helps the development of creativity
Learning a second language enhances the development of creativity

Development of Creativity

Imagination and inventiveness, but also lateral thinking and problem-solving: creativity can express itself in many different ways. Among the benefits of learning different languages is that this activity also stimulates our creativity. Therefore, learning a language provides us with a vital tool for traveling to other countries and simultaneously pushes our minds to explore new avenues to meet daily challenges. Because every language paints the world differently, learning new languages helps create new connections and see familiar things in original ways and novel patterns. 

There is no need to go as far as Joyce’s Finnegans Wake[1] to experience the sudden realization that occurs when new words or puns make our minds quickly travel in the blink of an eye.

Better Cultural Understanding

The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together.

Did you recognize them? These are the words of Charlie Chaplin’s stirring monologue in The Great Dictator. In the more than eighty years since the movie’s release, the means of communication have developed at incredible speed, and today they allow us to easily connect with people from all over the world. Through languages, we have a window open to other countries and cultures, free for us to explore (before, during, or after our trips).

However, these opportunities for global connections require care and attention to avoid ‘diplomatic incidents‘ and build honest relationships based on mutual understanding. Certainly, learning a language allows us to break down communication barriers, but that’s not all: improving mental elasticity and creativity creates the conditions for mutual understanding and overcoming cultural barriers.

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Academic and Professional Advantages

Knowing a foreign language also offers numerous advantages in academic and/or work settings. These benefits go far beyond merely improving your resume. Among the benefits of learning a foreign language, is the possibility of making direct connections without resorting to the mediation of third parties, as well as a better understanding of the background of your interlocutors’. 

In addition to this, proficiency in several languages gives you access to a wider range of information and data, online and offline, from a variety of sources, expanding your knowledge and allowing for a broader comparison. What better way to obtain important information, than being able to search and understand it by yourself?

And you don’t need to be fluent or perfect to leave a good impression: a few words and showing commitment to learning, sometimes, is more than enough to increase our reputation at work.

Social and networking benefits of learning a second language
Social and networking benefits of learning a second language

Social and Networking Benefits

Learning a new language means further opportunities to extend one’s social networks. Speaking a second language allows for much more than exchanging a few greetings. It makes it possible to forge deep connections and bonds with people who live in far-flung places. It means being able to get closer to the culture of the place you are visiting while being able to count on the friends you have there. Of course, this may increase nostalgia once you return home, but the possibilities offered by today’s media make it possible to stay in touch no matter the distance.

Furthermore, practicing a new language can lead you to meet new people even when you are not traveling: online courses, language tandems, and more, the possibilities are many…and with increased creativity, you will find many others!

Increased Self-Confidence

Given the benefits described so far, you will not be surprised to learn that another of the benefits of learning a foreign language is increasing self-confidence. As one of the most widely used definitions of self-confidence is “a feeling of self-competence required to handle basic problems in life and be happy”[2], it is easy to see how this applies to learning a new language: improved cognitive skills, increased creativity, a better understanding of one’s context, having access to a wider range of information, and being able to rely on a large social network can all contribute to increasing it.

If you are a fan of off-the-beaten-path destinations, self-confidence resulting from knowledge of a foreign language will be essential. Although today there are many countries where it is possible to travel by speaking English, there are many other places and experiences where knowledge of the local language is essential. These are often the places that offer the greatest surprises and the most authentic flavor of a country. 

Can you imagine how many experiences you could have if you were more confident in the local language? Enjoying a show at the theater, asking for directions to untangle the narrow streets of a small and remote medieval town, listening to the suggestions of the staff of an unknown but excellent traditional restaurant, and a thousand other small satisfactions that could turn your trip into a life experience.

Improved Communication and Interpersonal Relationships

Being fluent in a foreign language enhances your communication skills not only with speakers of that language but also in your native language. Developing greater awareness of linguistic structures and nuances of meaning can make you a more effective communicator, improving your personal and professional relationships.

Learning a second language gives you a broader global perspective

Broader Global Perspective

We live in a deeply interconnected world, yet there are times when we feel we understand each other very little between countries. Whether is because of prejudices or customs far apart, the quest for mutual understanding is an ongoing journey, and misunderstandings along the way are inevitable. However, the ability to speak a foreign language puts us in a position to listen, ask, and explain. Moreover, it gives us the possibility to look around and understand how people interact with each other and with their surroundings. And this is as true in the most sensitive aspects as it is in everyday life. The explanation of what is inside the pani câ meusa may not have convinced you all the way, but understanding the enthusiasm in the comments of the people around you surely will and will prompt you to taste a little piece of the culture of the deep South.

Language learning as a lifelong journey of continuous growth

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Whether or not these words were written by William Butler Yeats, they are perhaps some of the most evocative descriptions of what we now call a ‘lifelong learning’ approach. Although with the right approach and method, one can achieve remarkable mastery and fluency in a short time, learning a language is a lifelong journey. 

Often, when we experience new things or find ourselves in new contexts in our native language, we come across unfamiliar vocabulary and idioms. The same happens when learning a foreign language: we continuously discover new words, different meanings of familiar terms (yes, fico in Italian can be way cooler than a fig tree), and various inflections and accents. Societies evolve and languages with them, which is why the language you learn today may not be the same one you will speak ten years from now. The challenge continues!

The Benefits of Learning Italian

A survey conducted a few years ago to investigate what motivated Australians to learn Italian revealed that love of culture and artistic heritage were among the most popular motivations. But other motivations may also be driving people to learn Italian: some have a great passion for cooking, others do it to reconnect with their family roots.

Learning Italian involves not only linguistic aspects but also a rich system of nonverbal and paraverbal communication. Accompanying and emphasizing verbal speech by alternating different tones of voice and body mimicry is a feature across all human (and non-human) communities. However, in Italian, gestures assume a fundamental role in speech and in conveying meanings. 

Learning Italian, therefore, is an invitation to approach a ‘global’ communicative style that involves your language skills, but at the same time stimulates you to expand your expressive possibilities by researching different tones, gestures and movements. It is not by accident that it is the language of opera.

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Advantages of Learning a Foreign Language When Traveling

Whatever the reason for learning Italian, the best way to do it is to do it by traveling to the Bel Paese. In addition to enjoying the benefits of full immersion in the Italian language and culture, you can make the most of the benefits of learning a second language we have mentioned. Traveling stimulates our ability to adapt to new places and situations, testing our mental elasticity. Planning the itinerary and having to cope with the (inevitable) unforeseen events requires a constant exercise of creativity, as well as pushing us to leave our comfort zone and practice the use of language.

Moreover, as we immerse ourselves day by day in the culture and traditions of Italy, keeping curiosity, interest, and motivation alive will come naturally. Italy has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for thousands of years, which have left their mark in language, architecture, and cuisine, as in the case of Venice. Knowing Italian enables a thorough understanding of this very long historical and cultural process, which lasted for centuries.


So, as you can see, there are plenty of excellent reasons to jump into this new adventure. The benefits of learning a second language can be reflected in your life in many different ways: from enhanced cognitive abilities to developing creativity, from better cultural understanding to career advancement, without forgetting the networking benefits, the improved self-confidence and the global mindset. 

Perhaps most importantly, however, learning a new language will allow you to travel freely, unencumbered by language barriers. However, it is not necessary to give up traveling before knowing the local language. As we have seen, many elements in Italian contribute to expression, and not all of them are easily conveyed with just a course. What better excuse then, to plan your trip to Italy, than a language course in the country?


1.  Finnegan Wake by James Joyce is a book written in a strange mixture of about sixty-five languages. The novel, written over a period of seventeen years and published in 1939, is known for its experimental style, mixing a largely idiosyncratic language and blending standard English with neologisms, portmanteau words, Irish mannerisms, and puns in multiple languages. It has a reputation as one of the most difficult works of fiction in the Western canon.

2.  If you are interested in the topic you can learn more by reading Self-esteem and foreign language learning edited by Fernando Rubio.