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Is it important to learn the native language when moving abroad?

Moving to a new country is exciting, but it would be wrong to suggest there aren’t any hurdles for those brave enough to make the leap to pastures new. For some, the prospect of learning a new language is a daunting task.

But just how vital is picking up a second tongue? While it would be wrong to suggest it doesn’t matter at all, there’s definitely an argument to be had for those who don’t have the time or skill set to pick up a totally new vernacular.

Here are some pros and cons when it comes to learning a native language after relocating internationally.


Study English and travel abroad


Why it is important


  • It helps you immerse yourself in local culture. What better way to really engage in the nation around you than by conversing with locals in their mother tongue? Rather than relying on Google Translate every day, you’ll be able to confidently head out on your own and live like a local.
  • Not everyone speaks English. While a lot of people in the world take the time to learn English, that certainly isn’t a blanket rule. More economies are becoming strong enough on their own to negate the need to learn English to thrive. With less focus being placed on learning it at school, it might be time for the tables to turn.
  • It widens your job horizon. Recent research found that of the 31 highest paying job roles across the world, 27 of them were in non-English speaking countries. In fact, as many as 22 of these roles were found in Switzerland. Denmark, Iceland, and Norway also joined the Swiss as countries with some of the highest average salaries.
We also suggest you to read:  Three must-visit places in Spain for culture lovers


Travel and work abroad


Why it’s less important


  • You may not need it. Some countries go as far as to include directions and other important information in English on road signs and signposts. This makes it a lot easier to get around, even if you aren’t familiar with the local language.
  • Breakdowns in communication. The last thing you’ll want is for there to be an error or misunderstanding when you try to communicate with someone. When you’re not a native speaker, you could accidentally say something inappropriate, or just not be fully understood. That could have big repercussions if you’re somewhere like a hospital.
  • A lot of people speak English. Babbel suggests that as many as 1.35bn across the world speak English. That’s a huge percentage of the 7.8bn people on Earth. What’s more, there are loads of amazing countries where basically everyone speaks English. Some of the most popular among expats include Bermuda, The Bahamas, Malaysia and Malta.



Travel abroad



Learning a new language will widen your personal and professional horizons, as well as making it easier to acclimatise to a totally new place. But, equally, you shouldn’t feel that it’s an absolute requirement of any move. You’ll still be able to explore and immerse yourself in your home. The decision is totally up to you.


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