What motivates people to learn Russian

Foreign language learning in old age - motivation and interest


by Christoph Gollub

Learning a foreign language is fun and very popular - especially among older people. In this article, we want to share with you some of the most common reasons why people over 50 are so interested in this.
Perhaps you will recognize yourself with some of the motifs mentioned here and now you really want to learn a new language.

to travel

For many people who want to learn a foreign language, traveling is of particular importance. From a certain age, when the children have grown up and the apartment or house has been paid off, the interest in traveling to foreign countries often increases again.
Older people in particular often attach great importance to getting to know the culture and history of a country. Newly acquired foreign language skills not only allow you to make contacts in the travel destination more quickly, it also makes it easier to understand and experience the cultural peculiarities.

Social contacts

With knowledge of a foreign language, it is of course easy to make contacts in a foreign country. But just by learning the language you can get in touch with other people faster, after all, most older people do not learn alone, but in a course, together with their partner or with friends or acquaintances.

Sensible organization of time and free time

Older people gain a “new freedom”. - By retiring from working life and by the fact that their children leave the parental home, many constraints and duties that had previously determined their lives are no longer applicable.
Now, however, many are suddenly faced with the challenge of dividing up this freed-up time and using it appropriately, as the daily structure has so far been largely determined by the job and the family.
Learning a foreign language requires time and good organization and thus helps to give the free time a meaningful and interesting structure.

Continuous, lifelong learning

Many older people who want to learn another foreign language have had an interest in languages ​​throughout their lives. On the other hand, professional and private education and training have always had a high, personal value for them. The study of a foreign language fits seamlessly into a life that is determined by curiosity and a thirst for knowledge.

Memory training

Language learning keeps you mentally fit! It works like a training program for the brain and ensures that the head remains active and the memory is challenged and stimulated.
Instead of racking their brains with crossword puzzles, many older people prefer to learn a new language. In this way, they will not only remain intellectually challenged - they will also be able to communicate with other people with whom they would not have come into contact, or only with difficulty, in their younger years.

Fulfillment of deferred wishes

Some people have wanted to learn a foreign language throughout their lives. But often it is only when they reach retirement age that they have enough free time to tackle this project. And so they fulfill long-cherished dreams in old age and learn, for example, Greek, Hebrew or Spanish.

Individual reasons

Often, however, there are also very personal reasons why you want to learn a certain foreign language even at an advanced age. Perhaps you feel particularly connected to a country, for example, appreciate the Italian way of life or French food and would like to get a little closer to the foreign country through knowledge of the language.
Sometimes it is family ties that rekindle the desire to learn languages. For example, if one of your own children has a foreign language partner and you want to get to know the other family better through the language.

Have we aroused your interest in this topic? If you want to find out more about foreign language learning in old age, you can find more articles worth reading on our expert language blog.
For example, read:
The late joy in learning languages ​​- a fitness program for your brain
Tips for senior learners on foreign language learning
About the influence of your personal learning history on current and future learning