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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Higher Education

5 Languages Every International Affairs Student Should Learn

International Studies is a program which has gained popularity in the 21st century. The causative factor has been an increased permeation of globalization which has resulted in international engagement with respect to cultural, political, social, economic, environmental and militaristic aspects.

Due to the increased intermingling of affairs of one country with that of another, it becomes imperative to study it as a standalone field because it is as wide as the ocean and the more you try to venture into it the more you will know. Thus, International Studies is a course which aims to offer students necessary knowledge about international affairs and is supplemented by other disciplines.

A student of this course is expected to know a few things, and one of the most desirable attributes he can have is being a polyglot. The more languages a student knows, the more he will be able to understand developments in the international sphere. For example, if you wished to understand a recent development in Germany, you would get an upper hand in case you speak German because this will enable you to access local environment more easily and understand the development from the ground level.

Of course, there are many languages one can learn, and it is foolish to expect that the student should learn all of them. However, there is a handful of them which any International Studies student should consider learning. In this article, I have noted down 5 such languages to learn.

  1. English
    English is the language which connects the world. It is arguably one of the easiest to learn, and its already nearly ubiquitous nature allows the learner to grasp it easily.
    Today, English is the primary language for official purposes in many countries, and even if it is not, you can easily find the influence of the language in that country some way or the other. English has become a primary means of dissemination of information, no matter where you are.
    To put it simply, English is everywhere. If you have trouble understanding the language of any record, you can simply secure a translated version—something you are more likely to find.
  2. Chinese
    I am talking about the language which is spoken by more than a billion people who, most likely, come from one of the most powerful countries in the world, People’s Republic of China. Of course, there are many kinds within the umbrella Chinese language such as Mandarin and Cantonese, and that it is not an easy language to grasp. However, getting hold on this language can enable you to understand international developments more closely from the perspective of the Dragon.
  3. French
    French is the official language in 29 countries and a number of international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Red Cross, and the World Trade Organisation. An International Studies student is expected to study documents from international bodies, along with those from countries. French is widely spoken in many countries having strategic importance in international politics. One cannot simply miss out on this language while studying international affairs.
  4. Spanish
    The fourth most spoken language in the world, Spanish gets the crown for occupying an indispensable position in almost an entire continent, South America. Beyond South America, there are certain countries in Europe whose residents speak Spanish.
    Learning Spanish will be very helpful in understanding politics in the South Atlantic and Pacific region which is often ignored in International media despite having great influence in International Affairs. South American countries speak very little English, though many have been trying to incorporate it in their official businesses. Hence, Spanish can help you understand regional affairs effectively.
  5. Hindi
    Coming straight from India, the country with the second largest population in the world has many languages and dialects. But, Hindi has been recognized as the one that connects everyone here.
    The role of India in International Affairs is monumental, considering it is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with significant influence in the international sphere. English is a popular language but is not as spread out as Hindi which is considerably spoken everywhere here.

What languages would you like to pick up?

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Anna Papadopoulos
Editor, writer, teacher, consultant. Advocate for plain language, journalism, free speech, and tolerance. Feminist. Based in Sydney, Australia.
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