Easiest languages to learn for getting an expat job

Easiest languages to learn for getting an expat job – that will be the topic of today’s article.

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Introduction

Being able to speak a foreign language fluently comes with a lot of benefits. in particular, this helps you boost your career options and improve your social skills.

Today, we will be focusing on the details related to a few easy languages. We would mainly concentrate on the languages which boost your prospects of getting a job.

One of the major discomforts faced by expats is not being able to speak the local language.

There are various disadvantages of not being able to speak a local language. Some of them include:

Not being able to get along with the employees at work.
Not being able to share your thoughts or express your feelings.
Failing to give exact instructions to a taxi driver while going somewhere.
Finding a person on a social network attractive but not being able to convey that.

Such reasons may not even come closer to the major disadvantage of not being able to speak a local language.

One of the main disadvantages is when an individual is not able to access the desired job.

This becomes an uttermost disappointment when you have all the necessary skills except language.

Today, we will be discussing some of the easiest languages to learn for expats. Such languages will help them secure their dream job regardless of the language barrier.

To begin with, bilinguals earn a higher amount of salary compared to those who know a single language.

Individuals who speak an additional language have been known to earn 5% to 20% more than those who don’t.

Bilinguals as well as multilingual candidates even earn bonuses depending upon their fluency.

For example, the US military offers a $1000 per month bonus to people who speak another language fluently.

These reports are from Salary.com, which is a U.S. aggregator of compensation package data.

According to a Canadian report, it was found that bilingual men and women earned more. This is in comparison with those who only speak English in the country.

This is regardless of the fact whether or not they actually communicate in the second language.

Learning an additional language can contribute to your salary and the ability to network.

The benefits of language can also do the following.

Improve cognitive skills
Deals with the effects of culture shock
Helps deal with dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.
Makes you cooler

There was a survey conducted by the learning language app Babbel. Based on that survey, many Americans and British people found people who are able to speak another language to be attractive.

Furthermore, there are career-related advantages. These types of advantages include working or leading a company into new markets.

Let us see an example. More than 60% of corporations wanting to deal with a foreign country failed.

This is due to the lack of sufficient multilingual employees. Want to hear another advantage? This has been stated by the British Chamber of Commerce.

Nothing better than being able to relocate to a country that’s much more affordable. Learning a new language can help you do so.

Many people think that it’s unnecessary to learn another language, especially those speaking English.

Well, sorry to burst your bubble but you will really be missing out on various benefits in your expat life.

Getting to the point

What should you learn? That is based on the availability of opportunities, and where you want to work.

The School of Language Studies (SLS) at the US Foreign Service Institute (FSI), came up with an idea.

They categorized the major languages into four different groups. These groups have been classified by difficulty for native English speakers.

Given below are a few languages, which require around 600 to 750 class hours to learn.

No particular language can brag to be the easiest language in the world. That is why we will start by looking at the languages easy for English speakers.

Danish
Dutch
French
Italian
Norwegian
Portuguese
Romanian
Spanish
Swedish

On the flip side, there are some tremendously hard languages to learn. These can take anywhere north of 2200 hours to gain proficiency.

Given below are the languages that are extremely hard for English speakers to learn.

Arabic
Cantonese
Japanese
Korean
Mandarin
Icelandic
Hungarian
Finnish

It has been estimated that Portuguese is the easiest and cheapest language to learn. To learn Portuguese, you might require around €6,800 and 600 hours.

On the contrary, Mandarin is an extremely hard language to learn. To add more to it, you might need something around 33,000 euros to learn it.

Based on the several factors we weighed in, let us have a look at the easiest languages for expats. We are talking about the languages that will help them get a better job.

Dutch

It can be said as one of the easiest languages to learn as an English speaker.

The FSI states that English speakers are easily able to become fluent in the Netherlands within six months. This is with the help of some comprehensive Dutch lessons. Around 600 hours.

Dutch is somewhat similar to English, more of a West Germanic cousin type. Therefore, English and Dutch have similar vocabularies.

There are numerous confusions and complications, yet Dutch also uses many modern words from English.

In various situations, forming them into verbs is a simplified process.

Because of the anglicization in the Netherlands’ higher education system and workplace, most Dutch people can speak English.

This results in a situation where your practice skills can’t be put to a test in the main cities. This can be considered one of the major obstacles while learning a language.

Certain Dutch pronunciation consonants are also hard for English speakers. For example, the hard ‘ch’/’g’.

Besides that, Dutch can be deemed the easiest language to learn and it improves your career progress.

That too is in the Netherlands, which is one of the most globalized economies in the world.

Even though there are only 22 million Dutch speakers on a global scale.

In December 2018, it was reported that the Netherlands had around 250,000 job vacancies.

You do not have to know the language for most of these vacancies. Yet, you’ll have to be fluent enough to pass the Inburgeringsexamen. This is when you plan on staying in the Netherlands for a longer period.

Spanish

Spanish is the primary language of around half a billion people globally, including the 41 million people in the U.S.

Furthermore, 75 million people speak Spanish as a second language.

FSI considers Spanish to be a somewhat easiest language to learn. You will have to attend at least 600–750 class hours for proficiency.

This is also extremely beneficial to learn if you want to retire in Spain.

It also helps you get along easily with Spanish people in many countries, cities, and places.

Around 60% of Spanish people reported that they can’t speak, read, or write in English. These stats are obtained as per a poll conducted in 2017.

While being easy, learning Spanish can also be extremely frustrating. The language’s phonetic characteristics require the word pronunciation to logically follow spelling.

Considering the economic perspective, Spanish may not be too pleasing.

Spanish-speaking countries only amount to 6.9% of the gross domestic product worldwide.

That being said, the similarity of Spanish makes it mutually understandable regardless of local accents.

As a beneficial tip, beginners in the language should read a Spanish newspaper anywhere. This would strongly help the individuals in improving their skills.

French

Around 300 million people in the world express their thoughts on the likeability of French.

This can either be their first language or they can be a part of the French-speaking world.

This is according to the reports from the International Organization of La Francophonie.

FSI also deems French as the easiest language to learn for expats. Basic proficiency can be obtained in just 600 hours of intensive learning.

Native English speakers state that they had difficulty with French pronunciation and spelling. They also had issues with its grammar’s trying irregularities.

Keeping that aside, speaking French will prove to be a game changer for boosting your career.

This is while considering its history as an international language of literature and science.

French is also a commonly spoken language of:

The United Nations
The European Union
NATO
The World Trade Organization
The International Olympic Committee.

Even Bloomberg Businessweek ranked French to be the third most beneficial language for business. It took its place after English and Mandarin.

Francophone countries are held accountable for 8% (approx.) of the global GDP trade.

It is definitely easy to find a job in France as an expat who learned the language.

The unemployment rate stands at somewhere around stands at 8.8%. Most positions will require at least a minimal command of French for daily life activities.

This is irrespective of your skills and even if your job necessities don’t seem to fit it.

It is more than possible to live in Paris as an English speaker with no other language skills. But if you do so, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Adding Poirot’s native argot to your arsenal will also help if you want to work in Belgium.

To most people’s surprise, Africa is a major growth location for French-speaking people. It is estimated that around 44% of those who speak French live in the Sub-Saharan regions.

Based on the current growth rates, approximately 85% of French speakers could live on the continent by 2050.

French is also the second or third language of choice for most speakers in Africa. Anyhow, the local slang often messes up the language.

Africa ranks right after Asia as one of the world’s fastest-growing regions.

Africa experienced average annual GDP growth of 4.7%, which was between 2000 and 2017. It has seen 5% in the following years.

Several trade pacts are going on to try and raise this growth rate to 7% annually by 2063.

This rate, however, may not be achieved steadily across the continent. The has been some economic success in the countries such as Rwanda, Guinea, Senegal, etc.

This economic well-being depicts the job opportunities made available to French-speaking expats.

Norwegian

To know extensively about Norwegian culture, you will have to learn this language.

It is, yet another language that can be easily learnt and you’ll need to spend around 600 class hours. In comparison, this is similar to French and Dutch regarding the ease of the language.

Expats need to learn Norwegian so they can demonstrate language requirements. This is specifically if such people seek permanent residence or citizenship.

Norwegian is also said as a gateway to other Scandinavian languages. So, this could be advantageous even for those who wish to learn those languages.

Spoken Norwegian is mostly similar to Swedish. On the other hand, written Bokmål evolved from written Danish. This makes Danish easy to read without having to put in a lot of effort.

This actually means that you are being able to learn three different languages by learning one.

Jobs for English-speaking people in Norway aren’t exactly easy to obtain. There are only 5 million people in the country and its biggest exports are oil and fish.

Some companies offer employment even when you don’t speak Norwegian. This can be the situation with companies such as Equinor, Telenor, or Norsk Hydro.

Italian

Expats willing to move to Italy will know that Italian sounds so beautiful while being the easiest language to learn.

You will only need around 600 hours to be able to speak it proficiently.

As a phonetic language, many words are spelt in the same way they are pronounced.

Its grammar does have challenges just like other European languages. Some of the conventional obstacles include gendered nouns and complicated verb forms.

Italians usually don’t have any problem with foreigners speaking their language, which is also a positive attribute.

Individuals must be of the B1 level regarding proficiency in Italian. This is particularly made mandatory for foreigners seeking Italian citizenship through marriage or other means.

Jobs for expats in Italy may be different from what you thought they would be. Finding a job can is a complicated process in Italy. Up to a certain extent, it is because of the high unemployment (10.7% in February 2019).

Career change availabilities are better in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. Yes, this region is smaller, yet the Italian speakers in Switzerland are around 600,000.

Job shortages were experienced in the clerical, computer, and educational sectors, as per the OECD.

The industries with the greatest number of expats are as follows.

Technology
Finance
Fashion
Multinational manufacturers

Yet, English-speaking expats can take benefit from this situation and be selected for high demands.

German (not so easy)

Even though it is extremely hard, we added this to the list because it is a good career builder.

The first spoken tongue in Europe is Russian making German stand in second place.

German has various advantages in its favour. The German language is said to have official status in four countries and is considered co-official in another four countries.

Only around 100–110 million people speak German. German happens to be the second-most renowned scientific language. It is also the third-most used language on websites right after English and Russian.

Expats willing to get their hands on German citizenship need to establish their command of the language.

After an immigration law was passed in 2018, skilled immigrants have higher chances of employment.

Some other hard languages that have good ongoing job prospects are Mandarin and Arabic. These can be extremely hard to learn and take up most of your time.

How are you going to learn?

In the old days, when you need to learn a language, you had to take courses at physical locations. Now everything’s online.

Various smartphone applications assist you in learning new languages.

Adding to that, some of them are extremely entertaining while helping you learn.

Here we are presenting some of the best options for learning new languages online.

Babbel

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

This app makes use of various innovative methods to teach languages in 10- to 15-minute time periods. This is best for structured courses in several languages.

Babbel concentrates on improving your confidence and understanding. This is done through interactive courses ranging from beginners to advanced students.

Courses offer exercises related to reading, writing, listening and speaking. This ensures the provision of top-notch language education.

FluentU

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

This app features amazing media clips with subtitles. These clips and subtitles explain the meaning of each word you try to learn.

This app is best for users willing to learn a language from native media clips.

It implements a program where a language is provided through authentic videos watched by native speakers.

Some of the interactive clips include film trailers, news and scenes from popular TV shows. All of these are provided along with interactive subtitles to assist your learning process.

You also get to see how the word you learn is being used in various contexts through reference sentences and videos.

To check progress, the app has customized quizzes, speech exercises and flashcards.

Busuu

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

Busuu app is known to be the best for customized learning.

It has short lessons, customized reviews and feedback from real-time speakers. This app is a robust language tool for learners regardless of their level.

A fluency test will demonstrate your level, and after that, you can start from one of the 150 units available.

Memrise

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

This app is best for those who want to focus on the vocabulary of a language.

With this app, vocabulary is taught through video clips of native speakers. These get repeated many times to make it easy to remember what you learn.

You can find various games and videos from native speakers along with system-generated conversations.

Mondly

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

This app is known to be best for users who are more consistent in learning the language.

You get access to daily lesson plans as well as short lessons made available by the platform.

Mondly app also uses the audio provided by native speakers. Furthermore, it offers voice recognition for practices, a dictionary, and a verb conjugation tool.

This is an excellent tool for beginner-level learners and offers 33 language options.

Some other apps known to be the best for learning new languages are as follows.

Rosetta Stone

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

This app is known to be best for letting you immerse into the process of learning the language.

Pimsleur

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

This app primarily targets the audio-based language learning process.

Lingvist

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

This app assists you in learning a language with the help of flashcards.

Duolingo

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

One of the most entertaining apps out there, which makes the process of learning a language filled fun.

Drops

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

Those who want to learn with the help of visual learning can benefit from this app.

HelloTalk

Available on iOS:          Yes

Available on Android:   Yes

This app primarily operated on the concept of informational exchange. You can get into private chats, group chats, and community forums.

Bottom Line

Learning a new language can always be a complicated process and present a lot of challenges.

However, to make the process of learning easy, we provided some exciting online apps earlier. These apps help you learn a new language in the most fun type of way possible.

Learning a new language as an expat can open the doors for you to seek career enhancement.

That being said, We strongly hope that the information provided in the article was useful.

Please note that all the information provided in the article is collected from renowned sources. It may become inaccurate or get outdated by the time you read this.

Therefore, this should be considered a general guide for reference purposes. This should not be taken into consideration as actual facts.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 492.2 million answers views on Quora.com and a widely sold book on Amazon

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