English isn't your only choice
There are all kinds of reasons to learn a foreign language, the most obvious being the ability to communicate with others who speak it. However, the rewards go far beyond that simple satisfaction
A Broadened Cultural Understanding
It's often said that, in order to understand a culture, you must learn its language. This is true, but there is also much to be said for the learning process itself. Often, studying language can lead you into new and rich relationships with people you might otherwise never have met. This is especially true for people who choose to learn a new language abroad.
Learning another language is considered to be a smart business decision. It opens the door to an increasing number of careers and opportunities because the economy is becoming truly global. Even though English is still the prevailing business language in the world, there are huge markets that speak Spanish, Chinese and other languages. Your ability to speak one of these languages can make you an invaluable asset to your company, since it makes communication, coordination and customer service much easier.
Fluency in a foreign language can not only benefit you in obtaining a job, but also later on in your career - it enhances your mobility and may give you the extra edge in landing a promotion.
A Word of Caution
It's important to keep in mind that learning a new language purely for monetary gain may not always be the best idea. People who study a foreign language only because it is marketable may not have the passion for learning that is necessary for adopting a new language. With that in mind, if you're setting out into the realm of second languages, make sure you pick one that you can not only use, but also enjoy.
What Languages are People Learning?
Some of the most popular languages to learn include:
- Mandarin Chinese
This list contains many of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Mandarin Chinese and Spanish are first and second, with over a billion native speakers. Hindi and Portuguese each have nearly 200 million.
Although they're still popular to study, languages like Latin and Hebrew, which aren't in widespread use anymore, will not open up career possibilities in the same way the aforementioned languages will.