If you have always wanted to learn French, but thought that you were too old, think again! Learning French at any age is not only possible, but studies have proven it can be a fountain of youth for your brain! Whether you already have distant memories of your high school French or you are a true beginner, find a French language school and start exercising those grey cells.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Henry Ford
The Benefits Of French Courses For Seniors
Scientists have long believed that the mature brain was fully formed and unchangeable…unable to be repaired. More recent research has shown that the mature brain is actually a highly dynamic structure that is able to change to adapt to new experiences and adapt when injured.
One of the pros of being a mature student is the wealth of knowledge and experience that you have when you begin to learn French. Your vocabulary is much larger and your understanding of the mechanics of language is stronger than when you were a child. It has been found that you do not need to become fluent in a language to reap these benefits. Just the mere act of learning a language strengthens your mental capabilities and wards off the aging effects.
According to Albert Costa, a professor of neuroscience who studies bilingualism at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, “Picking up a new language’s vocabulary is much easier for adults than learning the rules that govern its grammar or syntax. This is because new words can be easily mapped on to a learner’s pre-existing knowledge.“
A 2014 study published in the journal Brain and Language found people who speak more than one language are better at filtering out unnecessary words than monolinguals. The brains of those who only knew one language had to work harder to complete the same mental tasks. The researchers believe this is because being bilingual is a constant brain exercise.
Learning a new language can help the mature brain to ward off dementia and the slow cognitive decline. Dr. Thomas Bak, a lecturer in the philosophy, psychology, and language sciences department at the University of Edinburgh, conducted a study and found that level of education and intelligence mattered less than learning a second language when it came to delaying cognitive decline.
As people live longer and stay in good health to a much later age, more and more mature people are choosing to pick up the pace and travel the world after their careers and other responsibilities start to slow down. They have more time and resources to spend on a longer stay. What a perfect time to add to the memories and the experience by taking a French course for over 50s! Take in the fantastic museums, iconic buildings and excellent food of France and practice your new found French skills at the same time. A French language school generally will also offer interesting and unusual field trips and activities that you may never have found on your own.
Another benefit of taking a French course, especially in a French language school in France, is opening yourself up to discovering a new culture, a new world and a new way of seeing the world expands your universe and your preconceived notions of the world in general. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and into this amazing experience by taking a French course for over 50s. The opportunity to discover your new language while living in France gives you the chance to put your French into daily use and will increase your understanding and retention of the language. You will meet new people and use your new language in your daily life rather than simply in a classroom setting.
Since a language is a doorway to a particular culture, learning a new language enables a person to have a broader understanding of that race or culture. Opening up to a culture allows you to be more flexible and appreciative of other ways of doing and looking at things. As a result, if you are multilingual, you have the advantage of seeing the world from different vantage points. In today’s interconnectedness, this is a valuable tool.
There are many choices to learn French, but when you take the time to live in France and take a French course, you will enjoy both the learning experience as well as the immersion in the beautiful culture of France. Additionally, it has been found that immersion in a language gives a more profound learning of the language than a classroom only language study. Researchers at the University of Illinois tested whether it matters under what conditions people learn a foreign language. To test their theories, the researchers made up a very small language comprising 13 words. The scientists found that after a few days, adults reached high proficiency at speaking and understanding the language, whether they had undergone classroom or immersion training. But only the immersion group showed “full native-like processing” of grammar in the brain.
So flex that grey matter, find a French language school, and hit the books! Bon courage!!