Yes, the time has come for a different post. The time has come to stop complaining for a minute and talk about the benefits of being bilingual. I don’t want you to think it’s all a struggle, because in fact this jumble of two languages in our head can be a huge advantage as well. I promised I would give you some benefits and here they are, so stop what you’re doing, sit back and enjoy how cool this “power” can make us.
Now, as you probably have realized by now, this will not be a classic list you can Google on the internet, but my own perspective coming from my actual experiences as a bilingual. Not to say the lists are wrong, I’ll even link you one later on. But this is what I have experienced as bilingual benefits in my everyday life:
- You are Interesting
I mean, I bet you are pretty interesting without this, but trust me, being bilingual never hurts. The minute people hear you speaking a different language fluently, it becomes an instant icebreaker.
The minute Greeks learn I’m from South Africa, they are intrigued. “You’re from Greece AND South Africa? Oh my God!” This happens with South Africans as well. The fact that we are a half-and-half “species” makes us different and exotic apparently. This may sound like it can get annoying, but trust me, if you’re ever in a situation when you need to break the ice, your bilingual self will never let you down 😉
- The Instant Connection with Other Bilinguals
There is a reason why most of my closest friends are bilingual. The minute you meet someone that understands the “struggle” and has very similar experiences to you, you are best friends.
The best part is when you speak the same two languages and you can switch mid-sentence without people looking at you weirdly . FINALLY!
- You Can Easily Act Like a Tourist
This has saved me from countless occasions. The classic example is when I simply do not want to talk to some stranger, I immediately pretend I don’t speak the language.
This becomes very convincing when you have a proper accent in your other language. They legitimately believe you are not from that country, which trust me, can be a lot of fun 😉
And these are not all the bilingual benefits. Take a look at this list I found (from this blog) on the benefits of being bilingual from a child’s perspective, because- lets face it- we are all children at heart.
I think I relate to more of these than I should 😛
Either way, even though we do tend to whine sometimes, you can’t ignore the fact that we are pretty cool 😉
Did you relate to any of these benefits? Would you have any benefit to add to the list? Let me know!