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Why Learn A Language & Who Can Help?

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Why Learn A Language & Who Can Help?

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Many repatriates cite that emigrating was not all they hoped for, with the main reason being – you guessed it – the language barrier.

Heading for the sun? Pack the language and the lotion.

Government estimates have speculated that as many as 800,000 British households also have a second home overseas – a figure that is up 45% on 2004. Some organisations, conversely, have put that figure up to 2 million.

With the rising price of UK properties, and many TV shows prompting us to buy homes abroad, the the expedient growth in the market has been vast. With the number of British emigrants the highest it has been for 40 years – a number set to double over the next 10 years – Spain and France remain the most favourable destinations for relocation.

The figure you may not regularly hear about, however, is the amount of people who return to Britain: roughly half! Many cite that emigrating was not all they hoped for, with the main reason being – you guessed it – the language barrier.

Poor grasp of language and a general failure to adapt and integrate with the language – and therefore the people – of their dream destination. It's a shame, really, especially when you consider the ease of learning a new language before you go. Attending a language course in the few weeks before departing can completely enhance the dynamics relocation.

Everyone's heard the nightmare stories, but repatriates often admit that, if they'd bothered to learn the language, many problems that spurred them to return could have been avoided.

So, by all means, follow your dream into the sun, but to make sure you don't wake up to find yourself back in the UK, it's probably wise investing in a language course first.

Who Can Help?

SIMON & SIMON – Simon Robinson gives us the low down on their runaway success....

It has been another terrific year for us at  SIMON & SIMON with hundreds of language students taking up courses in more than 20 languages in dozens of UK & overseas locations, including Brussels, Bucharest, Cairo, Milan and Hong Kong, to name a few. 

As usual, the greatest demand in the corporate sector has been for French and Spanish with German, Italian and English running a close third.  But we have also seen a growing demand for other world languages, which suggests to us that many of our clients are not sitting back passively expecting their foreign counterparts to learn English - a strategy that is clearly underlined by some interesting - and surprising! - statistics:

  • 94% of the world's population lives in a country where English is not the native language
  • Over 70% of British trade is with non-English speaking countries
  • The UK came second from bottom in the 2005 Eurobarometer survey reflecting the current status of language skills across 30 countries in the EU and beyond
  • Unsurprisingly, many businesses in the UK continue to report they are losing business through poor international communication and the failure to implement a formal language strategy
  • A new YouGov survey on business attittudes to language learning has found that 80% of employees have never been offered the opportunity to learn a second language at work, despite EU expansion and tougher competition from European businesses
  • 73% of people in the UK agree that everybody should learn at least one foreign language
  • 5 million people in the UK are currently learning a foreign language - a further 9 million are interested in learning one
  • Speaking a second language can increase an average worker's earnings by up to £145,000 in a lifetime
  • Around 800,000 British households now own a second home abroad,  up 45% since 2004
  • - the EU's language portal is well worth a look, even if you just click on the brief summary information under "Linguistic Diversity" and "Language Learning"

At a time when British industry is more convinced than ever of the role that foreign language skills must play in helping the economy to grow, the government's decision to make learning a foreign language no longer compulsory "post 14" is tragically short-sighted.  Fortunately, some schools can see the future better than the government and are increasingly making provision for children to learn Arabic and Mandarin!

Click on 700 Reasons to Learn a Language for a fascinating 1-page summary of benefits to you and your company

Trying to convince your children of the value of learning a foreign language? Speaking Languages Will Open Up Your Future by Dan Poole of School Leavers magazine offers a number of very persuasive reasons such as: better understanding of foreign cultures and improved job prospects.

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