Understanding your host country’s language has obvious advantages. But what if your host country has four official languages, like Switzerland? How do you choose which one to master?
Switzerland’s official languages are French, Italian, Romansh, and German. Each canton has a specific official language. Seventeen cantons speak German, making it the most widely spoken language in the country.
Apart from the fact that it’s the most spoken language, there are other compelling reasons why you need to learn German. Here are some of them:
Gives You More Confidence to Start Casual Chats
Communication is essential in your daily life, at university and in social interactions. It’s also your best ticket towards real cultural immersion.
Language is a tool that we use to convey meaning. But it can also be a barrier if we have poor vocabulary.
Learning German maximizes your ability to make friends, ask questions, and confront challenges. When you’re confident, you’ll find it easy to go with the flow of conversations.
Casual chats give you an idea of slangs, which are a fun alternative to formal language. You’ll find this useful when throwing out jokes or greeting a friend.
Enhances Your Sense of Space and Direction
How can learning German give you spatial and navigational awareness?
In truth, any language improves sense of direction, especially in foreigners. Imagine commuting on your own, where all the signs and instructions are in German. How would you find your way home?
From street signs to bus station names and warnings, everything is in German. While there are certain signs with English translations, it won’t be enough.
Simply put, learning German won’t get you lost in Switzerland. Getting lost in a foreign country is all kinds of trouble.
Fosters Cultural and Historical Knowledge
Speaking German broadens your understanding and appreciation of Swiss culture. You may argue that you can learn culture even if you only speak English. It’s true, but remember that language influences the way people think and behave.
Ask a bilingual friend if they feel like they’re switching personalities between two languages. You can bet that they’ll answer yes.
Understanding German gives you a glimpse of what it’s like to be in a Swiss person’s shoes. You must study it so you can learn about Swiss culture from your own perspective.
Improves Your Performance at School
English is the medium of instruction in certain programs in Switzerland. According to the European Commission, it’s more typical to encounter programs taught in any of the four official languages.
Knowing how to speak and understand German gives you an obvious advantage as a student. Complex theories will be easier to grasp and interpret.
You’ll also be more active in class discussions. And if you have a concern you want to raise with your instructor, speaking German can help you.
You need to study German in Switzerland because it gives valuable benefits. To learn more about life in Switzerland, visit our resources and stories here at MSM Unify.