The Importance of English: 5 Ways the Language Can Change Your Life
What makes English an important language, not just a common one?
Is it really worth putting all that time, effort and energy into learning English?
English is an important language for all kinds of professional and personal goals.
Whether you’re just starting out in English, or you need some motivation to keep going, understanding the importance of the language will help you reach fluency and change your life.
- Why Did English Become Important?
- The Importance of English: 5 Valuable Reasons to Learn the Language
Why Did English Become Important?
English is one of the most used languages in the world.
Even outside of countries like the U.S. and the U.K., many people can speak and understand English.
And if you include people who speak it as a second language, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide speak English! On top of this, 67 countries have English as their official language and there are 27 countries that have English as their secondary official language.
Why is this? It all has to do with history and the key is the British Empire.
Throughout the centuries, the British Empire expanded and ruled over many different countries, including most of the ones just mentioned and many more. In many cases, the British forced the people they ruled over to speak English and some of these countries still speak English, even if it isn’t their main language.
For example, why do people in Ireland know English but barely speak the land’s original language, Gaelic? Because Britain ruled over Ireland for hundreds of years.
English may have a complicated past, but it has a bright future. Because so many people can speak the language, it helps connect us in a global world. It can also help you in your personal and professional life.
Below are the ways that knowing the language can help you as an English language learner.
The Importance of English: 5 Valuable Reasons to Learn the Language
1. English Opens New Career Opportunities
First and foremost, learning English can help you pursue and obtain more career opportunities. These days, the job market is global—many companies need employees who can communicate with partners and clients all over the world. Very often, that means finding employees who speak English.
Are you job hunting? Are you looking for a promotion within your company? Do you just want to keep your professional options open? Learning English is an important step forward to all of those goals.
The global job market has even created new positions for bilingual people. By learning English, you could become a translator, a language teacher or an English marketing professional for a global company.
No matter what career path you decide to pursue, learning English is a valuable skill. It’ll help you become a better, more sought-after employee as well as a more well-rounded person.
2. English Tests Can Get You Into School
If you learn English well enough to pass tests like the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) you can study in English-language universities across the globe.
That’s great news if you want to move to an English-speaking region or work in one—a student visa can get you there. Or you may simply want to take a few classes abroad. A successful English test will show colleges and universities that you’re ready.
The TOEFL, noted above, is one of the most common English proficiency tests. Others include the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and the Cambridge exams. Some colleges or language centers even offer classes to help you practice for these tests.
Even if you don’t need to take a test for a specific reason, or have already graduated from college, studying for an English test can still really help you improve your language skills. It’ll teach you the essential skills needed to communicate in English and if you end up passing the test, it means your English has become very strong!
3. English Is the Top Language of the Internet
English is the most-used language online, with nearly 1 billion users typing and chatting in the language. If you can understand and read English, you’ll be able to access and enjoy many more resources online.
You can read online news articles. You can leave comments on an English video. You can understand Tweets from English-speaking celebrities. You can participate in a discussion on a forum. The possibilities are endless!
Obviously this is helpful if you’re just using the internet to browse and have fun. But many people and businesses also need to conduct research, market themselves or communicate and develop connections online—English will be crucial for success.
Email is also now a very common way to talk with people all over the world. Email is the primary way for many companies to communicate with customers or other businesses. Being able to write emails or other correspondences in English is another important asset for employers.
Whether it’s for fun or for work, if you can understand English, you’ll be able to communicate with more people online or use many more materials.
4. English Makes Your Life More Entertaining
Want to put more books on your bookshelf? Want more options for a Friday movie night? Learning English will open a whole world of entertainment for you. You won’t need to rely on translations—you can enjoy the authentic originals.
Understanding English means you’ll get to enjoy modern Hollywood blockbusters (very popular/successful movies) as well as classic films from different generations. You can watch engaging English videos that discuss all kinds of topics. You’ll also be able to read popular books that were written in English, like “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games” and more.
Besides helping you learn realistic English, authentic English media can also teach you about the cultures of English-speaking countries. This can be very helpful if you ever decide to travel to these places in the future.
If you aren’t sure where to watch movies in English, check out streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video—as well as free services like Crackle and Tubi TV.
For videos, there are websites like YouTube and Vimeo. These platforms are very big and have a lot of content, so you might have to filter and search carefully for the right clips.
There’s also the language learning program FluentU and its library of English videos, which are all organized by topic and English difficulty level. Each video comes with interactive subtitles that explain the vocabulary used (including English expressions), and you can review what you learn with flashcards and quizzes.
If you want to read books in English for free, here are some options. Check out a local library. Even you don’t live in an English-speaking region, your library likely has an English- or foreign-language section. E-book services like Kindle or Nook have many free downloads. Browse their huge selections to see if any free English books interest you.
5. Learning English Can Make You Smarter
On top of all of these benefits, learning a new language such as English helps your brain function in new ways. Literally!
Research shows that learning a new language changes your brain structure (don’t worry, it’s in a good way). It impacts the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory, conscious thought and more. Put simply, learning a new language can make your brain stronger and more versatile, improving the way you think.
Research also shows that bilingualism can keep the brain strong and healthy into old age, and helps with memory, concentration and other skills. It can also help you on standardized tests (which will be great for the TOEFL!) and make you more creative.
If you learn English, you could read a book in English, take a class in English or do all kinds of other things. This will open up the pathways to many other experiences, help you learn new things and make you feel smarter.
Well, what are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate! The sooner you start learning English, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy all of these benefits.