Study Abroad Student Handbook
China China
Center for Global Education

Why Learn a Language?

Considering that China is home to 1/5 of the world’s people, the benefits of learning Chinese are obvious. In fact, because of the country’s enormous population, statistics prove that more people in the world read Chinese than English. As China is a dominant world power, especially in Asia and the Pacific, Chinese is also an official language of the United Nations.

It should be noted that there are seven major Chinese dialects and numerous sub-dialects. Because Mandarin, also called Putonghua, is the predominant dialect (spoken by over 70% of the population and used as the medium of government), it is often the form of Chinese that study abroad participants choose to learn. There are, however, many other dialects of Chinese that you can study. For example, Cantonese – one of the local dialects of Southern China – is also widely spoken around the world.

Many students see Chinese as too difficult to study, but they don’t realize that Chinese grammar structure is actually much easier to learn than English grammar. While both Mandarin and Cantonese are considered difficult to learn, if you choose to study a more challenging language, you prove to others that you are dedicated, ambitious, and hard-working. People, especially employers, will be impressed with your desire to learn Chinese as well as the command of Chinese you attain.

Students interested in business, economics, commerce, and international trade will greatly benefit from learning Chinese because China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Due the quantity of untapped markets in China, the business world deems Chinese to be the language of the future. There is currently a real need for Westerns who speak Chinese; not only can they assist numerous U.S. companies already established in China, but they can also assist Chinese tourists, students, and business people who are coming to the United States in increasing numbers.

Read on – Why Study Abroad and find answers how study abroad can affect your personal growth and career path.

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