Speaking more than one language can enrich one's worldview and help us to evaluate situations from multiple perspectives at once, as I have noticed in myself and others.
However, the example below suggests that the surrounding couture might have a more significant impact.
Athanasopoulos and his colleagues have been studying the capacity for language to change people’s perspectives. In one experiment, English and German speakers were shown videos of people moving, such as a woman walking towards her car or a man cycling to the supermarket. English speakers focus on the action and typically describe the scene as “a woman is walking” or “a man is cycling”. German speakers, on the other hand, have a more holistic worldview and will include the goal of the action: they might say (in German) “a woman walks towards her car” or “a man cycles towards the supermarket”.
Part of this is due to the grammatical toolkit available, Athanasopoulos explains. Unlike German, English has the -ing ending to describe actions that are ongoing. This makes English speakers much less likely than German speakers to assign a goal to an action when describing an ambiguous scene. When he tested English–German bilinguals, however, whether they were action- or goal-focused depended on which country they were tested in. If the bilinguals were tested in Germany, they were goal-focused; in England, they were action-focused, no matter which language was used, showing how intertwined culture and language can be in determining a person’s worldview.
If I think about it, I do need to adjust my way to express thoughts and tell stories more than it would be required just by switching the language when I visit Europe or talk online with people who do not share my current culture.
But see what happened when the participants were forced to concentrate on languages rather than cultures:
In a revealing experiment with his English-German bilingual group, Athanasopoulos got them to recite strings of numbers out loud in either German or English. This effectively “blocked” the other language altogether, and when they were shown the videos of movement, the bilinguals’ descriptions were more action- or goal-focused depending on which language had been blocked. So, if they recited numbers in German, their responses to the videos were more typically German and goal-focused. When the number recitation was switched to the other language midway, their video responses also switched.