Today is the annual European Day of Languages (EDL), which celebrates the linguistic diversity of Europe and promotes the learning of languages.
Proficiency in more than one language is a desirable ability to have for a number of reasons. It opens up more avenues for career development and makes you stand out to potential employers, who - in an increasingly globalised world - increasingly value language skills in their employees.
Being able to speak another language is also an advantage beyond the workplace. As EDL explains, multilingualism encourages openness and understanding towards others, and promotes greater mental flexibility of perspective: 'Learning to use another language is about more than the acquisition of a useful skill - it reflects an attitude, of respect for the identity and culture of others and tolerance of diversity.'
There’s more: as NEC tutor Melanie points out, studies have consistently shown how learning another language is an effective way to help build your multitasking skills, improve your memory, make you more perceptive, and even comes with health benefits such as helping to stave off dementia.
Here at NEC we often find that languages are amongst the most popular of subject areas that our students enrol on, and also amongst most rewarding for them to study. The flexibility offered by distance learning allows our students to pick up a new language without having to put the rest of their life on hold. Whatever their reasons for wanting to learn, this flexibility helps them to achieve their aspirations sooner.
Anna is one such student. 'Last year I decided to start studying AS French by distance learning, as my dream was to go and live in France after I’d finished university,' she explains. 'I was initially worried about keeping up with the workload as I already had so much to do, but my tutor was very understanding and let me submit my work whenever I had the time. Her feedback over the course really helped me to improve, and I surprised myself by coming out with an A grade in the exam.'
'Although juggling the course with other commitments was stressful at times, in the end it was worth it and I’m now looking forward to practising my newly acquired language skills when I move to France!'
Another student who found learning French with NEC to be immensely rewarding is Sue. She studied the language at IGCSE level, and explains, 'I chose French in particular because we have a holiday home in the South of France, and I wanted to improve on my command of the language for the purpose of integrating with the locals and also dealing with officialdom.'
'I looked at local French classes which a) were geared to conversational French only and b) did not fit in with my work and social timetable. I found NEC on the internet and came to the view that distance learning would give me the best opportunity to study for a recognised qualification.’
As well as offering French at IGCSE and A level, NEC also offers Spanish at IGCSE level. NEC tutor Amanda is passionate about Spanish and hopes the European Day of Languages will help inspire more people to learn something new. 'At it simplest, Spanish is a fun language to learn. The NEC course is well written, and the success of students who have completed the course are testament to that.'
'You just never know, learning Spanish might be life-changing if you are able to travel, change jobs, relocate, go on holiday or start a new life in a Spanish-speaking country.'
If the EDL’s celebrations have inspired you to learn a new language, visit our website for full details on all of our flexible distance learning courses, or get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.