Why learning your host country’s language can prove important for your integration ?
It is true that you would probably get by with your knowledge of basic English. But did you really pack all your things and move abroad to just get by? Wouldn’t you prefer total immersion in your expat country? Here’s why it’s important to learn the language of your host country before settling there.
To better communicate with locals
Of course, it all depends on the country where you have decided to settle. If it’s an English speaking country, or a language that you already speak, you won’t really have to worry about that. But if you’re planning to move to a country whose language you know nothing about, it’s best to take language lessons. In some countries, with a bit of luck, you can get by with a good command of English, but mainly in the big cities. In rural areas it is a whole different story. Often, locals do not understand any language other than theirs, so you should make an effort if you want to understand the language of your host country, express yourself correctly and of course, be understood.
To be in total immersion
While it is generally recommended that you learn the language of your host country before you leave, you can also learn while already on the ground. Just sign up for a language class and throw yourself in the deep end by engaging with the locals. What could be better than being in total immersion to better understand the language and its nuances, but also the culture of your host country. Some countries also have hundreds of dialects. This will therefore be an opportunity for you to know more and perhaps to learn a few words and expressions that can be useful to you on a daily basis.
To facilitate your integration
Speaking the language of your host country also has other advantages, such as facilitating your integration into the community. It can all start with a simple hello and lead to a barbecue with friends on the beach. You just need to show your interest in learning the language to be part of theirs. The locals will witness and appreciate your efforts and they will help you out when they can. It’s also a great way to make new friends and expand your social circle in a new country.
Better understand the subtleties of the language
In some languages, certain words are pronounced in a particular way. What is more, these words may not have a precise definition. Take the example of “Hygge” in Denmark. Hard to define and even to pronounce. It is a difficult word to pronounce and chances are it sounds nothing like how you would pronounce it in your native language. “Hygge” is generally defined as a feeling of well-being, when you enjoy something you love in a warm atmosphere. For some, “hygge” means having a little coffee with friends while for others it is more to enjoy a moment of relaxation with the family while watching a movie. It’s a bit like hearing a Dutchman say “Hè hè” after a long day of work. Did you think that he was laughing at something? Far from it, it is rather a sigh of relief. As in the case of “hygge”, “Hè hè” is more colloquial and is a term that one only understands by conversing with a local.
Added value for your CV
It is a serious advantage to indicate on your CV your mastery of one or more foreign languages. Recruiters are generally on the lookout for bilingual or even multilingual candidates who will not only have less difficulty integrating and communicating with the team, but who will also be better able to understand the needs of international clients. This will save them the heavy burden of teaching you the language by registering for a course. Indicating your mastery of one or more foreign languages can also be a sign that you have international professional experience, which is highly prized by multinationals.
Become a citizen of the world
Learning a foreign language before moving abroad is good, but mastering several is better! Especially if you plan to settle in a cosmopolitan city where you will have the chance to meet people of different origins. Whether at a professional, social or cultural event, at a restaurant or in a bar, or at the park where you go jogging, you will be able to communicate more easily.
Article written by our partner Expat.com
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