“Language is a road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” – Rita Mae Brown
Learning foreign languages can help us with our future – economically, culturally and socially. There are many reasons why people learn a foreign language: emigration, finding a better job, studying abroad, traveling, meeting new people, learning about different cultures, etc. No matter what the reason is, learning a foreign language certainly takes time and dedication. Unfortunately, many people give up or don’t have enough motivation to learn a certain language, especially the one which is considered to be one of more difficult languages. In some countries learning foreign languages in not compulsory, and therefore, many students aren’t interested in it. Many people think (especially the ones from English speaking countries) that “English is widely spoken, and therefore the only important language, so we don’t need to learn some other ones” or that “other languages aren’t important, nor useful”.
In some countries, foreign languages aren’t a necessity (we don’t need to speak them in order to get a good job) and people don’t pay too much attention to them, such as in Japan, some English speaking countries, more developed countries (where people think that their language is the most important one), etc. and the number of people who speak them is very low. Nevertheless, in some countries, especially some small and undeveloped ones, foreign languages are extremely important and they represent a great opportunity for people to be distinguished and stand out from the crowd. They can also help them with finding a better job or applying for a great foreign university. However, these are not the only advantages of speaking several languages.
1. Knowing several languages will make each of our trips even more enjoyable, since we’ll be able to communicate with the natives and discover way more than any regular tourist might, since they’ll be more hospitable and open to us.
2. Reading original (untranslated) literature. There’s nothing better than reading original piece of literature, since some parts of the book can be lost in translation and we can understand the story way better.
3. Better communication with foreign business partners/clients. When we can speak a language of our foreign business partners/clients, it can help us understand them better and have a better relationship with them. It may also help us make sales, negotiate better and get secure contracts.
4. Helps us with our studies and research. When we can speak other languages, it’s much easier to find appropriate literature for our essays, presentations or classes, especially some scientific books or articles which aren’t translated in our language. It also enables us to communicate with students and researchers from other countries and work together.
5. Learning differences between countries and different cultures. When we learn a foreign language, we don’t only learn the language itself. We also learn about that culture, those people, their mindset, behaviour, their customs, traditions, cuisine, TV shows, literature and way more what makes that culture unique, which helps with with mutual understanding.
When it comes to certificates, they’re very important to prove our language ability. Some companies don’t require certificates, some of them do. Regardless of that, I recommend you to get any type of certificate for the language(s) you speak, since it’ll make you stand out and perhaps get a better job position, go to business trips more frequently, get a better salary, more opportunities, etc. Certificates are very important for people who’d like to live, work or study abroad, since in that case, they’re obligatory. Nobody can go to work or study abroad without having a certain certificate. Depending on the university you’d like to study in, or a country you’d like to work or live in, I recommend you to do the research and find out which certificates you’ll need.
The demand for foreign languages has been increasing lately. Some languages have been at the very top for many decades, such as English, German, French, etc. However, many of them are nowadays getting their spotlight and some of them are predicted to be extremely necessary in the near future. British Council made a research and came up with a list of languages that’ll be in the top 10 over the next two decades. On their list can be found Arabic, Turkish, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese and Japanese, among others.
Learning languages can sometimes be very expensive. However, you don’t have to spend money on some expensive cram schools or private teachers. You can learn a language by yourself and ask someone (either your friend, or someone online) to help you if you don’t understand something. There’re so many online courses, YouTube channels, free books and websites where you can easily learn a language. Just have patience and make your studying interesting by studying with someone, reading amusing articles or news, watching great TV shows or YouTube videos. It’s very important to find something that you’re interested in (e.g. if you like cooking, go and read recipes in that language or watch YouTube videos), so that it’s diverting for you and at the same time you’ll learn a language.