It’s eleven pm on a Sunday and you’re re-reading your textbook for what seems like the millionth time trying to get the knowledge into your head before the big test, but nothing’s working.
We’ve all been there. It’s disheartening and the pressure can cause you to turn away from the subject altogether. Some of you may even ask, “but how is this going to help me in real life?”, before you fall asleep at your desk and wake up with a sore neck.
Your parents and teachers will always try to encourage you about the merits of learning trigonometry or reading The Iliad even though you’re not remotely interested in a STEM career or Greek mythology. Don’t be too harsh on them. They want you to pass your classes, graduate, and go on to bigger and better things. Besides, plans change as you get older and you might find that what you hated at 15, you love at 30.
However, there is one subject at school that can actually offer you benefits now and throughout your life: English.
How will learning English help you now?
While learning about the theory of gravity will help you pass physics, it likely won’t have much bearing on your day-to-day life. Learning English, however, can improve your quality of life and impress your parents and teachers. The infographic already shows you how to learn, but here’s why:
If you’re anything like the average teenager growing up in the West, then the vast majority of the entertainment that you consume will be created in English first, before being translated into French. This often means a substantial wait before you can enjoy the books, television shows, movies, games, and even music that your English-speaking peers are going crazy for.
By learning English, you can bypass this wait time and be the first to know and enjoy what’s hot and what’s not. Plus your favourite movie stars will not all sound the same any longer in their dubbed versions.
Friends are there to help us navigate life and to give us support when our parents/teachers/boyfriends/girlfriends are getting us down and, honestly, this doesn’t stop when you hit adulthood. So what could be better than making new friends? They could last the rest of your life.
Learning English allows you to widen your potential friend pool by 527 million people (and that doesn’t even include people who use it as their second language). That’s a lot of potential friends! You could meet them on fan sites for your fave YA book trilogy, through pen pal programmes set up by your school, or even at the next Taylor Swift concert.
The best bit is that making friends with English speakers, who may live in other countries, can introduce you to different cultures and customs, which helps to make you a more well-rounded person. You’ll also do the same thing for them.
Many of you are probably looking forward to travelling after you finish education – or sooner if your parents agree - whether that means taking a well-deserved beach holiday, going on a round the world backpacking trip, or visiting one of those English-speaking friends that we talked about in the previous section.
If you’ve learnt English, your travels will be a lot easier because English is spoken in 101 countries and is the official language in 35, not including the US, the UK, and Australia. French, on the other hand, is only spoken in 51 countries.
Don’t think that you can rely on a translation app either. They’re notoriously glitchy and you might end up ordering a glass of cream rather than an ice cream. The wait staff will probably be too polite to correct you.
Translation books, while slightly more accurate, will mean a lot of time spent flipping through pages. This might be okay if you’re not rushing, but if you’ve got twenty minutes to catch the train and you have to stop a passerby to ask where the station is, you might have problems.
How will learning English benefit you later?
If you’re not already convinced about how English will benefit you in the next few years, then maybe you’ll be interested to know how it will drastically improve your chances in the job market. Wait, wait, wait… Don’t close the tab so fast.
You may not be interested in a career just yet, but eventually you are going to start work. It doesn’t have to be bad though, you can choose something you love and that pays decent money.
A good grasp of the English language is a valuable skill for any job, which could see you hired over your peers. If that’s not enough, you might be interested to know that your second language can earn roughly €2,500 more per year. That’s a pretty good incentive, isn’t it?
So whether you’re learning it for a great job, to meet new friends, to be the first to read the next book in your favourite trilogy or to discover new countries, chances are English will be a skill that serves you for life!