You have moved into a new country and you have decided to settle in permenantly. Whatever the reason of you permanent settlement, one things is inevitible. You crash with the barrier of the foreign languge and you must learn it to overcome it.
I have eperienced what it is like living in a country where I rejected to learn the local language – that being in Finalnd, and how it took a negative toll on me. I decided I don’t want to feel the same way when I moved to Sweden.
I know and have known a lot of freigners around me that have decided to settle into a new country. Some I have known have spent here 12 years working and living and still dont speak the language. Others for 3 or 4 years and still have a trouble leading a simple basic conversation. I also know those that became quite good in the local language only after 2-3 years of intensive hard-core efforts. Deep respect. So as some people choose to learn, others choose not to. And these people do exists! The reason simply usually is: ”I can get by with English. Everyone around speaks English. My job does not require to learn the language” Of course it depends in which country you are but since English is an international language you most likely will get by with it. It is those people and those reasons I want to write about today. I agree learning a new language can take a lot of time and effort but it is well-worthed in the long run.
Here I am outlining some of the top 5 motivations & reasons you actually need to know the foreign language in the country you live in.
1. UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON AROUND YOU AND IN THE COUNTRY
From news and newspaper articles in what is actually going on in this country, to what people talk about during lunch or how to fill up this documents which happen not to be available in your own language or in English. There are so many more things also that are not written and explained in English but only in the local language. And exactly those details about how the system and the laws function will make you life much easier and better. You miss on a lot of helpful and essential information that can help your life. And asking around people might not make this information appear. If you knew, if only you knew….So digging on info in the local language will certainly improve your life quality. And not to mention you will know what on earth is happenining in this country. There can be some newspapers and articles written in English for foreigners but you are still missing on those good quality expert knowledge that comes well-served only in the local language.
2. GET INTEGRATED IN THE SOCIETY
As sad as it sounds you really risk getting rejected from the social circle of locals. Having experienced that on my own back. And it sucks. If you end up in a hang-out company of locals why should all of them switch to English just for 1 person – you. They might do it at the begining to show friendliness and kindness and to make you feel welcomed. Then they most liekly would get tired of it. After all they are in their country, they want to speak their own language in their free-time. It would feel unnatural and estranged for them to do so in the long-run. As a result you end-up creating this micro-world or sub-society of circle consisting of people from you country that speak your language or other foreigners that will speak English. It will be hard for you to feel you belong in this new society.
3. BECOME MORE JOB-COMPETITIVE
You have a job already. You speak English. Or you do not need to learn the local language to do your job. Fine. But then you just risk staying there. Not to mention you restrict your career growth in this way as well. One can find an English-language speaking job certainly. But that restricts itself only to the private sector and to the big international companies where the main working language naturally is English. But those big comapnies are not that many and the competition is fierce. The economy consists moslty of small and medium-size enterprises (1-50 and 50-250 people). This companies are more local and the official language is the local one. And they consist mostly of local people or foreiners that are fluent in the local language. And many, many of those smaller local companies can be better off or offer you better working conditions and benefits then a big corportation. Ever dreamed of a government-emplyed job? Yes? Well there you just must be fluent in the local language to read and understand the regulations and speak to local people. There can be both advanatges and disadvanatges for all options. But one thing is for sure you are more free to move and have more opportunities in front of you when you are fluent in the local language.
4. UNDERSTAND OTHER LANGUAGES
Learning one new language does not necaissarly end there. It does open doors to other languages. Many languages share common roots and are closly-related. Thus for example if you learn Swedish you can read and understand Norwegian and Danish. If you learn Portuguese you would be able to read and understand some Spanish, Romanian and Italian. Learn Finnish you will be able to understand some Estonian. Learn the cyrilyc letter and Bulgarian, you can already read Russian. And so on. In other words your world will expand and you will get richer in knowledge.
5. YOU WILL GET MORE SELF-CONFIDENT
Being fluent in the local language, means you can rely on yourself entirely and do not depend on the help or translation of others. That will make you feel more self-confident. Being rejected for jobs where the local language is required or not sure what people mean, what is going on, asking for explanations and clarifications all the time can really undermine one’s self-esteem and confidence. And no one likes to feel this way, right?
The motivations can be many more. I guess we all have our own. So as hard as it can be, do take those books and head to the course to try to make your life quality better. You will gain more and loose nothing. I assure you it is well-worthed!