Last Updated: June 05, 2022
Learning European Languages
While moving to Europe for higher education or career-building purposes, one will have to be proficient in the English language. Most often, visa requirements and college admission requirements will include proof of language proficiency in English. While this is common knowledge, some European countries will require candidates to know the local language of the place. This is mainly for places where English is not the most commonly spoken language.
Candidates who wish to study in such places will be able to choose programs that are taught in English but if they choose to take up part-time or full-time jobs in the country, they will have to be familiar with the local language. Learning the local language of the country they are in will help them befriend plenty of people and also immerse themselves into the culture of the place they are living in. Even if it isn’t a requirement, knowing languages like German and French can be of use will applying for jobs within the country.
Importance of Learning the Local Language in Europe
The importance of learning the local language in Europe apart from being proficient in English is one of the easiest ways of fitting into Europe. Unlike the US, Europe has many different languages all of which are assets to people who wish to travel the world. Learning any of the more popular languages within Europe will help candidates to communicate better within classrooms and work spaces in any developed country in the world. Knowing the local language as a student will also allow one to interact better with their classmates and professors though they might be in an officially English-speaking space.
Understanding the basics of the local language will also allow candidates to function better in society. They will be able to procure better housing by communicating with landlords or doing grocery shopping at local markets without having to rely on hypermarkets which fall on the relatively more expensive side. Most often, universities make it compulsory for candidates to speak the local language as a requirement in which case they will have to prove that they are proficient in both English and the required language.
Advantages of Learning the Local Language
The advantages of learning the local language in Europe will include getting to immerse oneself fully in the culture and society of the country without having to rely on its international population along with the perks that come along with it. Candidates will be able to live like a local in the country and at the same time, since European languages are valued across the globe, they will be able to get better career opportunities by being multi-lingual. A few other benefits include-
- Since the universities in Europe are extremely popular in the world, candidates will have to be competitive in every aspect to gain admission. When two candidates have the same academic qualifications, knowing the local language will be the deciding factor in gaining admission into popular colleges in Europe.
- Despite research programs being taught in English, it will be highly beneficial for research scholars to understand their course of study in the local language as well since this will help them communicate better with their lab partners and research guides. This is the same at postgraduate levels in research-oriented institutions.
- Students who wish to take up part-time jobs in the country will have to understand and speak the local language to get better-paying jobs. Since most of the part-time jobs that are made available to students are from the service industry, communicating well with customers will be an essential component that English alone will not be able to cover.
- Graduates who wish to stay back and work in the country or are looking forward to landing an excellent job in their field of study will have to be proficient in the local language since that is the deciding factor for most companies. This is especially because communication within the team in a company is extremely important for companies to advance.
Popular Languages to Learn While in Europe
While Europe officially has 24 languages, the place is known to have over 200 languages that are actively spoken. Among these many languages, 5 of them are the most popular including Russian, French, Italian, German, and English. Languages like German, French, and English are spoken across different continents in the country while Russian is specific to Russia and Italian is for Italy. This implies that candidates who are traveling to a country in Europe will have to do their research before they start studying any language. Some of them even choose to learn a language after they have been to the country so that they can learn through immersion and not through textbooks.
The five languages mentioned above have around 50 million native speakers in Europe which makes learning any of these languages an asset if one is backpacking across Europe. The details regarding these languages and the importance of learning them are as follows-
English is one of the most popularly used languages across the world and hence it must come as no surprise to candidates that they have to learn this language. But one must understand that unlike countries like the US where English is the most commonly used language, Europe has whole countries where English is not popular. Visa requirements might require one to be proficient in English but at the same time, candidates will have to learn the local language separately if they wish to live well in the country.
There are around 63,00,000 native English speakers in Europe with most of them in the UK and Ireland. And at the same time, there are over 212 million English speakers on the continent making it a sizable amount of 51% of the population.
German is the second most popularly spoken language in Europe and unlike common beliefs, it is not spoken only in Germany. This language is spoken mostly in Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein along with places like Switzerland, Luxembourg, and even France. It is one of the official languages of Europe and is spoken by over 100 million people in Europe which is around 13.3% of the population of Europe. Germany is one of those countries where most of the educational programs are taught in German though international programs that are taught in English have recently started coming up.
Candidates who wish to get into the best STEM programs provided in the country will have to prove their German language proficiency if they wish to gain admission.
French is considered to be one of the most romantic languages in the world and it is mainly spoken in France. But at the same time, it is also spoken by people in Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Monaco. There are around 76.8 million native speakers of French in the world with around 20% of the EU population understanding the language as well. This is mainly because people from Europe know French as a second language over their mother tongue. It is the third-most commonly spoken language in Europe with over 71,500,000 native speakers within the European Union.
Since English is not widely spoken in France, candidates who plan to move to this country will have to ensure that they have above-average knowledge of French.
Country-Based Languages to Learn in Europe
While languages like French and German can help one live in different places, a few other languages one will have to learn will be based on their destination country. Languages like Russian and Italy are mainly spoken in their origin country though other countries do have small percentages of native speakers in the language. While such countries sometimes require the candidate to only have proficiency in English to survive, some other countries do not have a high number of English speakers. In such places, one will have to learn the local language out of necessity.
Russian is one of the most widely spoken languages in Europe with over 160,000,000 native speakers on the continent. While it is spoken in a few many places, the most popular student destination out of these places is Russia. Russian is spoken in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Estonia, Georgia, etc. Since only 5 % of the people in Russia have basic knowledge of English, it is one of those destinations that require candidates to be proficient in the local language if they wish to survive.
Italian is also one of the popular languages in Europe though it is widely spoken mostly in Italy. Other places like San Marino and the Vatican City have Italian as their official language. There are over 64,000,000 native speakers of the language in Europe and since it is not a country where English is widely spoken, candidates will need at least a basic knowledge of Italian.
Due to the different accents of Italian in different parts of the country, one will have to adapt their language learning after settling down in the country.
Spain is one of the countries in Europe where English is not commonly spoken. Only about 27% of the population here understand basic English and most of them will belong to the younger generation here. Candidates who plan to move to Spain will have to learn and understand Spanish to survive here. Around 47,000,000 people in Europe are native speakers of this language and Spanish is also used in countries like France and Portugal.
Candidates who live in cities like Valencia and Andalusia will be able to survive with English to an extent owing to the large number of expats living here.
How to Learn European Languages?
Learning a new language before moving to a new country can be a daunting task for many. But at the same time, if one is moving to a continent like Europe, they will have an opportunity of learning a language that is well accepted and appreciated across the world and by different multinational companies. Students and employees who are multilingual will receive better opportunities and they will also be able to enjoy and explore the country they are in better.
Choosing the right way to learn the language can start with watching TV shows and movies in that language with subtitles and if the candidate has enough time, they will be able to move on to books and magazines that can help them learn the language. The most common way of learning a new language is to enroll in accredited crash courses or full-time courses to learn the language. At the same time, students will be able to rely on apps like Duolingo to learn the language of their choice before reaching their destination country.
Language apps will allow people to choose the degree of knowledge they have in the language before commencing classes. They will be able to assess the student and provide them with lessons, exercises, flashcards, etc., and even question papers depending on how proficient the candidate wants to be in that language. A few of the popular language learning apps include-
- Rosetta Stone
Depending on the language one has to learn, they will be able to take accredited 3-to-6-month courses in the subject. Such courses will be provided in language centers and institutions. They typically provide candidates with a certificate to prove their proficiency in the language after they have successfully completed the course. Such classes take interactive learning seriously and hence are a good alternative to apps especially since communicating with others is the end goal of learning a language.