Best Languages To Learn After English

Best Languages To Learn After English

April 30, 2024 Off By Christina

Speaking a second language nowadays is not a special skill. In most countries, people learn a foreign language at school and many bilingual families take advantage of their national heritage and speak both parents’ languages in the family. For non-English speakers, the English language is a must-have skill today and many are asking a question: what is the best language to learn after English?

English is the lingua franca in trade and commerce and is the most important language to speak for traveling, career opportunities, and professional development in any industry. According to the World Economic Forum, English is spoken only by 20% of the world’s population, which is about 1.5 billion people.  Amongst them, less than 400 million use it as a first language. That means over 1 billion speak English as a secondary language. English speakers are in demand in commerce roles in many countries. Numerous roles are also available in nearly all major tourist locations for bi-lingual people fluent in English. But being an English speaker is not enough to be competitive in a future job market. Let’s look at the best foreign languages to learn after English.

In this article we will consider the best languages to learn for business, career opportunities and professional development. 

The best languages to learn for international business: Spanish and Mandarin

The trending languages in the business in the US are Spanish, Chinese Mandarin and French.

According to Study International, California has the highest percentage of jobs requiring a second language, with Spanish being the most sought-after language. New York comes second, with Chinese as the top language wanted by employers. Florida places third, with Spanish being the most in-demand second language.

Many researches and studies conducted in the US lately have shown a strong demand for U.S. workers who speak foreign languages—especially Spanish and Chinese. This tendency should continue to grow over the next decade.

Mandarin: the most common first language on the planet

China is a major global power and in recent years it has become increasingly outward-looking. More and more companies from around the world are trading with Chinese businesses. And there is a long history of jobs for English-speaking people in tourism and education in China, making it one of the most useful languages to learn after English.

Mandarin is the most common first language on the planet with 900 million native speakers. 75% of the population of China speak Mandarin. And China is the most populated country in the world and the second biggest economy.

Also, Chinese is among six official languages of the United Nations. More than 70 countries teach Chinese in their national education systems, including the United Kingdom, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Australia.

Despite the massive potential for people who speak Mandarin as a second language, it is only the seventh most studied language in the US. So, by adding Mandarin to your CV, you can make yourself a very appealing commodity to thousands of companies and businesses around the world.

Spanish: best language for career opportunities in healthcare and business

Besides Spain, Spanish is the official language of 18 American countries and is a minority language in the United States and three other territories throughout the world. It is also one of the 6 official languages of the United Nations. Spanish is the fourth most spoken language in the world and one of the easiest languages to learn for job opportunities in the US and Europe. It is also one of the best languages to learn for business, traveling, living and working in the USA or Latin America.

Spanish is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn, as it has many words adopted from English. A lot of words have the same root (base) as in English. There are always plenty of job opportunities for people who speak Spanish as a second language around the world, such as healthcare, tourism and international business.

One of the industries where Spanish-speaking professionals are crucial is healthcare, especially in the areas with high Spanish-speaking populations. As communication is very important when it comes to health needs, having skills in the Spanish language opens a lot of job opportunities for you in hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices around more than 18 countries in the world. 

Another excellent opportunity for your career is working in the customer support department, where multilingual employees are very often a must. To get a bilingual customer support role, you’d have to demonstrate professional proficiency in several languages. 

Job and career opportunities for Spanish language learners

There are plenty other professions and fields where Spanish language speakers are welcomed and valued, such as the legal field: 

  • legal or court interpreter, 
  • legal assistant,
  • immigration attorney, 
  • law firm receptionist, and others. 

Spanish language skills in international business: 

  • international marketer, 
  • business development manager, 
  • social media community manager,
  • recruitment specialist, 
  • account executive, etc.

In all of them, knowing the language will be beneficial in communicating with clients, stakeholders, co-workers, or employees that speak Spanish as their primary language.

Your Spanish speaking skills will be an advantage for your company. Same as the Chinese language, it will help the business grow and succeed with new consumers and in new markets internationally.

Spanish as a second language won’t make you stand out in the same way as Mandarin, but it may be a quick route to finding a good job in the international business industry. Furthermore, Spanyards are not very good at languages and it is crucial to be able to speak and understand at least B2 level of the Spanish language in order to communicate with the Spanish speaking colleagues, partners and clients.

12 High-Paying Career Options For Spanish Speakers In 2024.

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Best languages to learn for a career in science and engineering: German and French

Dominant European languages in science and engineering are English, French, German and Russian. This is explained by several historical facts, when initially “scientific” languages like Latin, Classical Arabic and Sanskrit lost their position to three European languages thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the expansion of colonization. Later new languages of science emerged, Russian being one of the most successful developments of a new language of science.

Emergence of the Russian language in science came with the controversy over the meaning of the Mendeleev periodic table, which led to the acknowledgement of original publications in Russian.

German: best language for career and job opportunities in science and engineering

German is the best language to learn after English for career in science and engineering.

According to the University of Otago, German is the second most important language in scientific research and R&D after English. Germany’s contribution to research and development ranks number three in the world, thus making it an important source of research scholarships for foreign academics and students. After English, German is the best language to learn for pursuing a career in science, engineering and any STEM field. The ability to speak and understand the German language will help you get an edge in a very competitive field.

Combining your scientific or engineering degree with German language skills will boost your professional success. German skills added on your CV provide you with great career opportunities and options in the European job market and around the world.

Career opportunities for German language speakers

Not only in science, but also in the field of:

  • international law, 
  • commerce, 
  • international affairs,
  • economics and finance,
  • political science,
  • philosophy,
  • art, literature and music.

German is an excellent language to learn in preparation for professional careers in international business or law, engineering, government and international affairs, economics and finance, and education, as well as for academic careers in such fields as history, religion, philosophy, art history, political science, literature, and music.

Germany is a European powerhouse and the biggest economy on the continent. It is a giant in trade, commerce, and technology. Germany’s influence on the world stage is growing following the UK’s exit from the EU. This can only increase the career prospects for anybody who speaks German as a second language. German is the most useful language to learn for a good job in Europe and worldwide.

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French: the dominant language of modern telecommunications and environmental science

French is the official language of the United Nations (where French is the second most widely used language, after English), NATO and the Olympic Committee. It is widely spoken in Europe, Canada (it requires labeling in English and French on all imported products) and in many rapidly emerging African nations. More than 1,200 French companies have subsidiaries in the U.S.

French is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn, as some 40 to 50% of English vocabulary comes from French. Thus,  as you develop greater skills in French, you also sharpen your skills in English.

France is a world leader in the development of modern telecommunications, a market with explosive growth potential. If you know French, you can be part of communications and transactions occurring daily in French on every continent, as French is an official language in 28 countries.

According to The Catholic University of America, France is one of the leaders and innovators in science and technology. Civil engineering, medical technologies and telecommunications are just a few areas in which the French play a leadership role. Knowing French can open many doors to graduate school and to important research. French is also a popular and significant language for Environmental Science students to learn.

Data shows French is the fastest growing language in the world in terms of the number of speakers. Indeed, the majority of French speakers are not French. Learning French will put you in a position of strength as more and more roles globally demand fluency in French.

The best languages to learn for a career in political science and diplomacy: Arabic and Russian

Arabic: the best language to learn for a career in international relations and national security 

Arabic is an official language of the UN and is crucial in the world of diplomacy. The Middle East’s strategic position, their abundant natural resources, commercial power and rising tensions, Arabic language knowledge is extremely beneficial in sectors connected to:

– international relations, 

– national security, 

– peacekeeping operations,

– crisis management,

– political science and diplomacy. 

Despite this, there are relatively few Arabic speakers outside of countries where it is a native tongue. For this reason, Arabic language speakers are in high demand around the world. And that demand is centered in the sectors of governmental jobs, any industry in business, engineering, medical, nonprofit, security and international relations.

According to the Intelligence Language Institute, the CIA is constantly looking for language professionals with proficiency in such languages as Arabic, Russian, Korean, Persian (Farsi) and Bosnian. Also FBI special agents apply their professional expertise and unique language skills to their work every day. Language skills and cultural knowledge, specifically such languages as Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Russian, Somali, Korean are highly valued by the FBI.

Learn Arabic language for a career in global politics

It is worth learning Arabic if you are interested in diplomacy and global political science. With Arabic language skills you will be able to  join in on the global conversations happening in diplomatic and international venues. Knowing Arabic will help you understand and explain Arab ideas, behaviors, and worldviews. Being fluent in Arabic can impact your views and ability to share ideas on global debates and discussions on pressing issues around the world.

Greater connectivity between people and businesses from around the world brings fresh opportunities but it also increases competition. It is clear that many jobs in the future will favor applicants with language skills, especially the challenging languages, like Arabic and Russian. And that means now is the time to start learning a new language, even if you are bilingual and fluent in English.

Russian: the best language to learn for job opportunities in government or diplomacy

Russian is one of the five official languages of the United Nations and remains the unofficial lingua franca of the former Soviet republics. It is an everyday communication tool across all of the Caucasus and Central Asia and most of Eastern Europe as well as Israel.

Probably you’d be surprised to know that Russian is the official language of space and all astronauts going to the ISS (International Space Station), no matter how many languages they speak, also need to learn Russian.

Russian is considered to be one of the three most critical languages (together with Arabic and Chinese) by the American government to be imperative to national security and the globalized economy. As a matter of fact, there is much higher demand for speakers of these languages than there is a supply. The following agencies welcome expertise in Russian: 

  • C.I.A.,
  • N.A.S.A,
  • F.B.I,
  • National Virtual Translation Centre,
  • the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 
  • Department of Commerce,
  • Department of Defense, 
  • Department of Energy, 
  • Health and Human Services, 
  • Homeland Security, 
  • Housing and Human Development, 
  • Department of Labor, and 
  • Department of the Interior.

Russian is a language to learn if you are interested in scientific research, energy, or petroleum. Russians are especially strong in the areas of geology, mathematics, and chemistry. Russian language skills are also highly-valued in the fields of cybersecurity and computer science.

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