Around this time of year many of us will be busy making altercations to our lifestyles - whether that be by dabbling in ‘Veganuary’, going cold turkey on alcohol, or signing oneself up for a swanky, new gym membership… but don’t let learning a language get lost in the midst of failed resolutions and fads. Learning languages is here to stay.

My personal passion for languages only really began to blossom when I began learning Spanish age 11, followed shortly by Classical Greek and Latin. Suddenly, I was seeing the world through a completely different lens and therein lies the power of language. You can become immersed in different cultures, histories, customs, thinking, politics, literature and so on and so forth. Despite my glowing reviews on language learning, I am slightly disheartened by my far less appreciative classmates’ view of their value and the population in general.

When languages were made optional for GCSE students in the 2000s, numbers of applicants sitting exams fell by 40%. Furthermore, language A-levels and degrees continue to be in decline in popularity. And whilst what your desperate language teachers says about knowing more than one language making you more attractive to employers and possibly helping you earn a better salary is true, this is far from the only incentive for learning a language.

You have the opportunity of living happier and more comfortably in different parts of the world. Languages allow you to become a global citizen and throw yourself into new situations, places and people with the security of understanding about their language and culture.

All the different challenges of language learning are an added brain exercise too, with studies showing that learning languages can help to prevent old-age diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia!

Setting aside the enticing cognitive boost, becoming a polyglot will ultimately make you a more empathetic person. It will require a lot of energy, patience and practice, but can be hugely rewarding and fill you with a sense of fulfilment when you finally have a conversation with your local French-speaking waitress, or translate that tricky Russian poem, or understand every bit of small talk in your favourite Spanish soap - without the subtitles on.

I would recommend (if not a viable option in school), you search for proper courses and after-work classes or Saturday schools in order to have a good chance at sticking with it. It’s important to really give this a proper shot and unfortunately, that will mean setting aside some time and possibly money in return for properly achieving your goal (- no that flashy free language-learning website probably won’t cut it).

If you are looking for a worthwhile resolution this year, try your hand at learning a language in 2020, because just because 2 billion people speak English, doesn’t mean we should neglect the other 6 billion.

To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.” ― Chinese Proverb Amala Sangha