Happy New Year to you all! Now that your Stella Artois headache and confused hair have gone and you’re able to see more than two inches in front of you, it’s time to think about how to start 2022. If you don’t know what to do, let us suggest that you study English. If you were already planning on studying English, let us say Well Done.
During the lockdown times many people took up new activities, and many of them, as was recently reported in The Guardian, resulted in hospitalisations. Whilst baking, owning dogs and lawnmowing all comes with severe health risks, it is certain that learning a language is extremely safe.
Aside from the usefulness of learning English, or any new language, it is quite simply a lot of fun. True, like any skill, it takes away for difficulty to go away and for the entertainment to start. But, that said, once it begins to get even just a little bit fun, the fun only increases. What does fun mean exactly? Well, watching films, reading books and listening to music are fun, and if you can do these in another language it’s fun plus there is a sense of achievement that goes with it.
Also, once you hit a certain level in your new language, it starts getting easier to talk to make friends. When you really know another language well, it almost doubles the amount of experiences you can potentially have. So, that’s the main point about learning a language in general. Let’s look English in some more detail.
Well, first of all taking the point above a little further, English is so internationally that many, many things simply exist in English. Netflix and other streaming services show mostly English language films and series. The world of pop music is mostly if not completely in English, and many, many web articles and software programs are written in English. So, already there’s a huge amount of culture available in this language.
Secondly, English is the language of tourism and travel. Whether we like this fact or not, and we should understand how it is a product of colonialism, at the same time, we don’t have to continue those old ways in order to enjoy the travel benefits it offers. Even a small amount of English will go far if you travel to another country and don’t speak anything of that country’s language.
If you’re Italian, for example, and you travel to Russia, you’ll probably find that the person in the hotel will speak more English than Italian. However you feel about an idea like this, it’s hard to deny that knowing English will help you in your life as a traveller.
Many jobs require English and indeed the business world in all its forms very much uses English. The Internet, the stock exchange, international politics and even public affairs and human rights are all fields where people mostly speak English. Just think about the WHO, for example, which gives its international health announcements, in English. Though there are interpreters and translations, major information, such as about the pandemic, is given first in English.
If you would like to work for any of these kinds of international companies or organisations, a good level of English is essential.
Unfortunately, while English is a major language across the world, many English people only speak English. 62%, in fact. This is no good for the English but it is good for you. Improving your English level will put you in a higher earning bracket simply because you will be speaking two or more languages. They estimate that bilingual employees tend to get a salary increase of between 25 – 35%. So, bad for the English, good for your English, and your pocket.
But this topic is a little bit unpleasant and, personally, we at LVC believe there are better reasons to learn a language than just profit. We’ve already talked about how English can help you travel around the world, understand culture and immerse yourself in local experiences wherever you go. But what about just plain old friendship?
Thom Yorke may seem like an awkward, squinty little creature from a lost Samuel Beckett play, but he was right when he and his fellow band members said: Meeting People Is Easy. This is never more true than if you speak English.
First of all, taking living in London. If you speak English to any kind of conversational level, you can begin to communicate with people from all over the world. London and many other international cities are filled with foreign students, travellers and people who have chosen to live and work in that place.
Whilst it may, depending on your level, be a little trickier to get involved with a group of English people, everyone in the categories above will be using English to communicate. This means you can meet people from many cultures and many kinds of backgrounds and use your language to talk and make friends. Where do you meet people?
If you are studying in a language school, your first option for making friends is your fellow classmates. Or maybe you have some kind of special interest and activity you enjoy doing, such as yoga, playing chess, football, going to the cinema.
Whatever it is, London is full of clubs and groups where people meet and get involved in group activities. The website Meetup is a popular way to organise group activities and get to know new people. But also you can find clubs online and this includes that thing they call Facebook, where there is apparently a group for everything.
Language exchanges take many forums and you can find people at school to swap with, maybe even your teacher or you can find online forums to look for individuals. There are also dedicated language exchange groups, such as Mammoth, which organise meetings in bars and other social places where you can drink, have fun and meet like-minded people. All these routes will lead you to other people and you can go out, meet, get tipsy, hopefully make friends and, in the process, practice your English. Or you could just read book.
What has been your experience of learning a foreign language? What rewards has it brought you, and what pains? How long did you study for? Or maybe you have your own New Year’s Resolution and would like to share it. If so, leave us a comment in the section below. We would love to hear from you.
If you are interested in taking your English further this January, why not have a look at our list of courses, here? Please do get in touch with any questions you might have about prices, study methods or who our teachers are.
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