Bonjour, me llamo Rebecca.

I studied French in high school.


Since then I've traveled to 7 countries where Spanish is spoken....and France.  I remember one of my first experiences in a Spanish speaking country, struggling hard with the language. At that point I had a working understanding of what I was hearing but every time I opened my mouth French would spill out.

A few years later I was living in Spain with an Austrian, two Italians and a chap from Great Britain. When we would go out, the fluidity with which I observed these friends switching dialects from Spanish, to their native tongues, to English (to help poor dumbfounded me), was something at which I marveled. And for good reason. Not only were these friends and colleagues masters of language, a new study on the benefits of bilingual education demonstrates they were probably also outperforming me on all kinds of other executive function tasks.

"Saying 'Goodbye' to mom and then 'Guten tag' to your teacher, or managing to ask for a crayola roja instead of a red crayon, requires skills [that] are subsets of an ability called executive function. People who speak two languages often outperform monolinguals on general measures of executive function."

The presence of mind which demands a touch of extra focus to communicate in a second (or third) language might give our frontal lobes exactly the tickle they need to build grey matter in the area of our brain most associated with cognitive, conscious functioning.  If you simply can't get into the meditation craze, perhaps here's the next best thing. Why not pick up another language? If nothing else, you'll be a lot more useful than I was in my travels.