4 Reasons You Should Learn the Language when You Live in a Foreign Country
You will find expat communities from English-speaking countries in cities all over the globe, but rarely will you find such people being able to speak the language of the country that they are living in. People from countries such as the U.S. or the U.K. are particularly infamous for their reputation of being terrible with languages. You can settle in certain coastal towns in southern Spain, for example, and find many British people living there, almost none of whom will have learned anything beyond the most basic level of Spanish.
Native English speakers often take the attitude that English is the world language and that there's little or no point in learning the language of the country they're living in. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, and here are four reasons why.
Locals Will Respect You More
You will often hear people from certain towns in the U.K. for example, complaining about the enormous number of foreigners moving there and not learning a word of English. The same is true the other way round, however. Locals are much more likely to respect you if you learn their language. Learning the language of the country you're in is the first step towards integrating into a new culture and experiencing everything that it has to offer. The locals will respect you for making the effort, particularly if it is a lesser-known and/or harder language to learn than most.
You Will Have More Job Opportunities
Unless you live in a place where there are plenty of job opportunities which only require that you speak English and perhaps a second major world language, you're not likely to have much at all in the way of job opportunities. You do not necessarily need to become fluent in the language of the country you're in as quickly as possible, but having at least a basic proficiency will get you a lot further. It will also help to prove to potential employers that you are committed to staying in the country and making an effort to integrate.
You Will Feel Better about Yourself
Perhaps what is ultimately the best thing about learning a foreign language is that you will feel better about yourself. Those who speak two or more languages often say that it is like having a second soul. Imagine being able to communicate confidently and fluently with someone in a language other than your own. Imagine being able to dream in another language, to read books in their original language or to watch movies and TV in a foreign language. Learning a new language will open up a whole new world to you. You will feel that you have truly achieved something amazing.
Set Yourself Apart from the Rest
If you are a native English speaker who has already lived abroad among an active expat community, then you probably already know that native English speakers rarely speak the language of the foreign country they're living in. Take Prague, for example, one of the expat capitals of Europe. There are thousands of foreigners in the city, many of them from the U.K. or the U.S. Very few of them speak Czech. Because Czech is only spoken in one small central European country, and it is a difficult language to learn for English speakers, most foreigners simply don't bother. Those who do, however, set themselves apart from the rest, opening up more job opportunities and earning the respect of the locals and other expats alike.
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