You have probably heard the phrase “everyone speaks English” quite often. English is certainly the so called lingua franca that is most often used in cross-cultural communication, and it is becoming even more popular as the quality and popularity of English teaching is constantly increasing all over the world. English is undeniably a very important language to know – it is an official language in almost 60 independent countries, has around 400 million native speakers, more than 400 million people speak it as a second language and 600–700 million people speak it as a foreign language. However, although English is so wide-spread and commonly used, there are still several places in the world where it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get by with English. To point out some examples, one could mention Russia, China and many parts of Africa. So not only is knowing English important, but also knowing other languages just as well. I will tell you some reasons why…
The world is nowadays more global than ever before. Flying is inexpensive, different political agreements have made it easier for people to travel through international boarders, companies are operating more globally than before, and countries are changing into a totally new direction as people move in and out of different countries on a regular basis. To keep up with the changing world, it is good to keep up with your language skills as well.
Open Your Mind
Knowing more languages and cultures offer you the possibility to of see the world through different kinds of eyeglasses. Simply you understand people from other countries better, and their traditions, manners and cultures don’t appear even close to as weird to you as they probably would if you didn’t know anything about other languages and cultures. It doesn’t have to mean that you automatically like all cultures and languages, but you simply understand and accept them better as a result.
Train Your Brain
It has been proven by many scientific studies that learning a foreign language is beneficial for your cognitive qualities and keeps your mind lively and active. Some even claim that it can slow down neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia. Additionally, can you imagine the multiplied amount of information to train your brain with that is within your reach when you know several languages?
Boost You Employment Opportunities
Nowadays languages play such an important role in the working and business life. At least some level English or other foreign language skills are required and all the others are considered a big plus in almost every job. Not only do you beat many rivals that are otherwise just as good as you, but by knowing fluently some other language you open up so many doors i.e. possible labor markets to yourself.
Understand Yourself and Your Home Country Better
Often the fact is that you have to travel far to see near. Time spent in a foreign country for instance in a form of a study exchange, working, a language course or whatever really make you look at things, which you take for granted when being “home”, from a very different perspective. You understand what is good and what is maybe not so good about your home country. You may also notice that some culture and country related manners and habits may follow you everywhere, no matter how long you stay abroad. It’s important to admit who you are and where you come from, of course not forgetting to adopt the cultures and traditions of other countries.