Many students will tell you they hope to learn a second language in the future. But really, your college years may be the best time to do it. The benefits of being learning a second language go beyond being able to order lunch on vacation without embarrassing yourself, or ask for a fork without offending someone. Knowing another language can make you seem more specialized in your career search, give you more options later in life, and keep your cognitive skills refined now and in the future.
And with expanding resources and new learning tools, it’s not a bad idea to begin picking up a second language during a time like summer before school makes you so busy again that you can only dream about it. Here are the top 5 languages today’s students are picking up:
1. Spanish – Spanish is more and more becoming the most useful secondary language to speak in America. It has the fastest growing speakership, many Spanish-speaking countries are in our very time zones, and it is an important language in many fields.
2. Arabic – the world’s Arabic-speaking population is also on the rise. It’s being spoken more and more in the business world as new industries from Arab nations are born and it’s rapidly gaining international recognition.
3. Mandarin – Mandarin Chinese has long been known as the most spoken language in the world, and that won’t be changing soon. Chinese has almost one billion speakers and is still gaining popularity as a secondary language as China continues to be a powerful business leader.
4. Japanese – Japan is a technological hotbed, an auto exporter, and a US ally. When paired with English, it can be a versatile secondary language for everyone from business people to those in the service.
5. French – still recognized as the official language of several international groups, including the UN, French is one of the most recognized and storied languages in the world. Also the official language in over 25 nations and territories, it is applicable almost anywhere.
Honorable mentions: Hindi, Russian, Korean, and Persian – all large speakerships and spoken in up and-coming industries and important international relationships.
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