Cultural immersion is one of the quickest and most successful ways to learn a language. Every year, MPI's new Program Directors develop the arsenal of language skills they need to thrive in an unfamiliar culture; all leave with much higher levels of proficiency than when they arrived. It goes without saying that this verbal acuity is of great value on the ground - but what are the long-term benefits of multilingualism?
Brain imaging technology has shown that using more than one language increases activity in both hemispheres of the brain. Practicing use of more than one language keeps both hemispheres engaged and active as we age. In addition to these advantages, multilingual brains show higher density of neurons and synapses, more activity in certain regions, and delayed onset of diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia - by up to 5 years.
While lingual flexibility doesn't happen overnight, the major cognitive benefits of bilingualism last a lifetime. If you woke up this morning and wondered, "What is a dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and what is its role in executive function?" then this video is for you. If the previous sentence made you want to click away...this video is also for you!
Check out the benefits of a bilingual brain TED-Ed talk by Mia Nacamulli:
If you are ready to transform your monolingual brain, consider working with Manna Project International in Ecuador or Nicaragua. The life-long benefits can't be beat! Program Director applications are due October 1st, so hop on over and use your prefrontal cortex to fill out an application: www.mannaproject.org/pd-application.
Learn more about serving abroad for 5, 7 or 13 months at www.mannaproject.org/program-director.
"Regardless of when you acquire additional languages, being multilingual gives your brain some remarkable advantages. Some of these are even visible, such as higher density of the grey matter that contains most of your brain's neurons and synapses and more activity in certain regions when engaging a second language." - Mia Nacamulli