As an expat and a literature graduate myself, I understand that learning a new language cannot be forced or rushed, as it’s largely an organic and gradual process that happens on an unconscious level at times.
Language learning is also different for each person: you may be one to pick up new phrases and build up vocabulary while roaming around a new place on vacation, or you can be someone who requires a class-like setting to formally learn a new language and gain confidence to use it. The factors are many, and each person’s language learning skills and capabilities are different — and that’s a fact.
I choose to prefix the following article with this intro as learning a language after relocation may create pressure: whether it’s from your surrounding community or within a personal setting, like your professional environment. No matter what the case may be, if there’s one thing I learned after going through many relocations myself is that language learning, although maybe tedious, is key when you’re about to embark on a relocation adventure.
Learning a new language is a gateway to a new culture
One of the early stages of any relocation experience is exploring and being introduced to a new culture that may be very different from your own.
Since no man is an island, meeting new and interesting people from the culture you’re relocating to is essential. Think of your daily interactions with your neighbors, colleagues, or anyone you meet at a social gathering. Although it’s nice that they speak a mutual language so you can all communicate together comfortably, yet to fully immerse in a new culture and connect with them — learning their language will help you tremendously.
After adding a local (and new) language to your personal toolbox, even your traveling experience will change entirely and you’ll be able to not only understand your relocation destination better culturally, but even experience their cultural elements like art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, film, and more on a whole new level.
Learning a new language supports the integration process
You’re relocating to a new destination that you’re excited about. A new society, and a new culture that you’re eager to be part of and contribute to — and that’s what integration is all about.
Learning the language of your destination, even if in small and humble attempts at the beginning, will earn you points in the long run. It’ll create positive attitudes from locals and decrease the society’s prejudice (if any) toward someone like you, an international.
Learning a foreign language generates respect for other people as language will play an interrelation role and a bridge in connecting you mentally and emotionally to a new culture and society.
Learning a new language is a plus for your professional life
New life, new job, how exciting! Learning a new language as part of your relocation experience, although may not be required, will increase and expand your professional horizons long-term.
Being able to communicate in the official language of the destination you’re relocating to will enhance your professional opportunities in the realms of business, government, technology, industry, marketing, and more (especially if combined with your mother tongue!)
As a matter of fact, language and cultural training are being more and more recognized as part of a business landscape given their value and impact on the employees of all levels.
Learning a new language benefits you on a personal level
As a relocation will affect you on personal and emotional levels, acquiring a new language will definitely brush on those levels as well. Take for example your confidence, and how it’ll be given a nice boost as soon as you start speaking the local’s language.
According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), learning a new language reflects positively on the learner’s attention, and mental alertness, and boosts creativity and problem solving, among other benefits.
Learning a foreign language will also reflect on your personal views of the world. As you get to experience more cultures, you grow to be more tolerant and flexible. This will even affect your health in ways such as delaying Alzheimer’s and dementia.
For all the reasons above, it’s important to factor in language learning as part of your relocation process. Living in a world that’s streamlined by technologies, learning a new language cannot be easier today. That’s where we give BiCortex a shoutout for making online and face-to-face language training possible for relocation, corporations, and personal learners of all ages in 89 countries and 47 languages.
On a final note: Do you believe language and culture training will stand in your way towards a successful and speedy relocation to the Netherlands? Worry not, as Jimble can always customize your relocation to support language and cultural learning after your move. Contact us today to find out more about how Jimble can holistically support your relocation to the Netherlands.
Written by Farah
Farah is a native Arabic speaker, an English language crafter, and (soon to be) a Dutch language learner.