Why Learn English as a Second Language? (9 Reasons)


Now more than ever, learning English as a second language is extremely beneficial for an incredible number of reasons. There are many great reasons to choose English as your second language of choice, such as exposing yourself to diverse cultures, becoming more competitive in the workplace, succeeding in academia, and more. 

Learning English as a second language is very sensible. From being globally prominent to increasing job opportunities, English is the most learned language for all second language learners. It is beneficial both professionally and personally in most every part of the world.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top nine reasons you should consider adopting the English language to help you connect with more people, make more money, and much more. Stay tuned for the best reasons you can use to motivate yourself to learn English as a second language. 

English is the Most Spoken Language in the World

The first reason you should explore learning English as a second language is quite simple. According to Ethnologue, English is the most spoken language in the world if you’re considering both native and non-native speakers. In fact, out of the 7.8 billion people that inhabit Earth, 1.27 billion of them speak English (Source: Statistica). 

You’d be a part of the 15% of the world that speaks it—that would be a pretty cool fact to tell people about yourself. 

That makes English an extremely beneficial language to learn, as you’d be able to reach the greatest number of people in the world by speaking it. This also speaks to the accessibility that this wide spread acceptance of the language affords. It opens opportunities for connections personally, academically, and professionally.

Simply because many people speak it doesn’t mean that learning English will be one of the easiest to learn. It is actually one of the most difficult for native speakers of certain languages. Follow this link to my article discussing the top most difficult languages to learn English from.

You Can Make Friends with New People Easily

One of the most powerful aspects of acquiring a second language is the ability to build relationships with people you would have otherwise been unable to do so with; this opens doors for you to meet new people and build exciting new memories and experiences, which is a powerful ability to possess. 

Not only that, but many study abroad programs in places around the world only offer courses in the host language and English, so if you’re a student looking to meet global friends, there’s no better way to get access to those kinds of experiences than speaking English. 

Many universities in most major countries and cities offer courses in the native language of the country as well as English based courses. This is to attract the most number of international students from all corners of the world.

The potential to build friendships with diverse numbers of people through English proficiency is one of the most significant reasons students choose to study the English language.

Do you speak Spanish or know of someone who does and wants to learn English? Here is what I would recommend. We use this program for our family to learn many languages.

It’s Easier to Make More Money with a Proficiency in English

On a global scale, knowing English is an extremely lucrative ability to have. In fact, globally, people who have a decent command of the English language tend to make 25-35% more money than their monolingual counterparts. That figure, in our opinion, is nothing to sneeze at. 

Even if you don’t work in an international company, many companies and employers still see English proficiency as a great asset to have in an employee, as the employee will have access to resources that the company may not have been able to access alone. 

So, not only does the ability to speak English well correspond to more money per year, it also aids in landing the position in the first place. It helps in finding and benefiting from a job. That is what we call a ‘win-win’ proposition.

If you are looking to improve your English for business, here is a workbook I recommend from Amazon. It will help you use the proper grammar needed in business and academic settings.

It’s Easier to Climb the Corporate Ladder 

Similarly, it’s far easier to climb the corporate ladder if you speak English.

In the West, “the corporate ladder” is a term that is commonly used to describe the hierarchy of positions within a company.

Working your way up from, say, a basic office worker to a manager to an executive is what is known as “climbing” the corporate ladder. 

Executives and chief officers of major corporations usually deal with partners from all around the world, so being able to speak English is good for business. Thus, you will be considered a more valuable employee if you can use your English proficiency to help business, and you may also be more likely to secure promotions and bonuses. 

This makes sense as the world becomes more and more globally minded. Corporations now have offices and affiliations in most every country that has a market to support their product or service. In those countries, English is more likely than not to be one of the languages spoken.

You’ll Be More Likely to Work at Big International Companies

Globally, working at a large company that does business on an international or multinational scale is considered to be somewhat prestigious, and working at this type of company is the ultimate dream of many international office workers. And you guessed it—one of the best tools you can possess to give you a competitive edge is knowing English. 

This not only helps with dealing with clients and other companies located in other countries, but also with employees and management within the corporate structure. Simple communication is the backbone of any successful corporation.

Doing international business typically involves using English; therefore, many international companies deliberately seek out potential employees who can help them do business in English, making you an asset to their team. 

It’s Easier to Travel Internationally if You Speak English

Learning English doesn’t mean that you’re succumbing to Western social pressures. While English may be spoken in the United States and in the United Kingdom most notably, did you know that English is an official language of countries all around the globe? 

Singapore, Germany, Fiji, and more are all examples of countries that either have English as an official national language or learn English as a part of their school curriculum. 

My husband and I have taken several trips to Germany and Switzerland for several reasons. On these trips the natives of these countries created a bit of a problem for my husband who was learning German. The problem was not with his German level, but with their insistance on ‘practicing their English’ when he was around.

Some did it as an attempt to help when he would have trouble finding the right word in German, but others simply ignored his attempts at speaking their language and would only answer in English. This illustrates the wide acceptance and even enthusiastic use of English in many countries and cultures.

Not only that, but if you’re a tourist in a country with a language that isn’t spoken widely across the globe, such as Vietnam or South Korea, most translations at tourist destinations are in English, as well. And of course, all international airports have important signs in the host language and in English, too; this makes traveling anywhere in the world easier if you’re an English speaker. 

You’ll Be a Global Citizen with a More Globalized Mindset 

As mentioned above, English is spoken worldwide as a global language and is an important part of many diverse global cultures. Being able to speak English exposes you to a number of ideas or beliefs that you may not have been able to encounter otherwise. 

Experiencing new perspectives and ideas can be a fantastic lesson for many in becoming the most understanding and empathetic individual you can be by exposing yourself to perspectives that are not your own. Language and culture are intricately intertwined. To truly understand a culture you need to understand their language.

Not only does speaking a second language make you an asset to companies, but it can also help make you a better person. With this in mind, it is imperative that if you are considering moving to another country where English is the primary language, that you spend the time to gain at least a competent level.

Knowing English Makes it Easier to Advance in Academia

If you’re an academic or seek to become one in the future, knowing English is an extremely important asset in advancing in the academic world. This is especially true in regard to Ph.D. or doctoral programs and high-ranking professor positions, where scientific research is an integral aspect of the degree. 

Around the world, English is known as the language of Science and Mathematics. Most graduate and doctoral programs in these two fields around the world if not presented only in English, will have an English alternative on the schedule.

This also applies to research fellowships and some international scholarship programs that are based in STEM fields. To the heads of these organizations a student’s understanding and use of English is one less obstacle to that’s students success. With some higher education institutions seeing upwards of 70% of students not complete their degrees in the time allotted, this becomes a huge issue.

Although astounding to comprehend, the number of academic and scientific research papers written in English globally exceeds that of those written by the native tongues of researchers worldwide (Source: British Study Centres). 

Therefore, if you know English, you’ll have easy access to understanding scientific papers without having to waste any time translating and may have more luck securing jobs in your relevant field. 

English is the Most Common Language on the Internet

The internet is an increasingly important tool in navigating our increasingly globalized world. While 15% of people in the world speak English, as far as the internet goes, 25% of internet users speak English, and content on the internet is in English. This makes speaking English an important tool in navigating the world of the internet as well. 

As the importance of the 24-hour news cycle and the transference of ideas via the internet increases, so does the pressure for many to learn English so that they have access to such content, too. 

Not only this, but to be competitive in the workplace, do research in higher education, and make connections around the world, English and the internet are strongly linked. For those looking into computer, communication, or technical fields, English can truly set you apart.

Final Talking Point On Why Learn English as a Second Language

While many of us know English is the most widely spoken language globally, there are many other great reasons to take up English as a second language. There are a wide range of professional, personal, and academic reasons.

From being able to meet new friends and succeeding in the workplace to advancing in academia, becoming a more global citizen, and more, the list of reasons one should learn English is virtually endless—so why not do it? It makes you a better person and opens doors to a plethora of opportunities!

Jackie Booe

Jackie Booe is a licensed teacher for elementary through high school in 3 states. She is a former adjunct professor at the undergraduate level and certified to teach elementary, secondary English, and English Language Learners. She was a mentor for many education interns, has taught and coordinated professional development for teachers and educators, and professionally tutored in a multitude of subjects.

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