Language and Integration
Expatriates and their families are more often than not encouraged to learn the local language when they settle in a new destination. Many do follow this advice, but others prefer either to stick with a common language like English and/or just learn a few words of the local language to survive in their new environment. Although that may be enough to have a relatively fluid life without major inconvenience, mastering the local language could help life abroad go from normal or bearable to pleasant and enjoyable.
Learning the local language opens possibilities. It allows expats to expand their social network, to integrate better into the local community and activities, without being limited by language barriers. It opens a wide array of options that facilitate quotidian tasks as well as professional development.
Learning the local language allows for a better understanding of the host country and the culture. Through language, day-to-day expressions, idiomatic phrases, localisms and alike, expats can gain valuable knowledge of the local culture, the country’s history, the common idiosyncrasy, the most important traditions, etc… Consequently, expats get a higher level of understanding and empathy, which helps them integrate better.
Learning the local language helps strengthen expatriates’ self-esteem. Learning and mastering another language is reassuring and useful for any individual living abroad. It helps communicate better and transmit messages in a clearer way. Expats will feel much better about themselves by speaking the host language and by knowing they do not need to rely on others to get their message across.