The Drops Blog

8 Languages Students Want to Learn Abroad

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Published:
Oct 3, 2019

In this age of global travel and communication, students are taking their language studies abroad. Let’s find out where they want to go!

Studying abroad is appealing for a number of ways: students get to experience foreign cultures, make new friends, and have an unforgettable adventure. While these things are guaranteed in almost any country they choose, students are increasingly making this important decision based on the language spoken in each country. 


In a recent survey of over 32,000 students conducted by educations.com, students cited learning a new language as a key factor when deciding where to study abroad. An impressive 31% said that learning a language was a top priority when deciding to study abroad. Of those who cited language-learning as a top reason for studying abroad, almost a fifth are specifically going abroad to take a language course.

Since one of the best predictors of long-term success is doing something on a regular basis, it’s not surprising that students want to go straight to the source when learning a new language. From ordering your morning café au lait to saying bonne nuit to your host family, studying abroad allows you to practice your new language in and outside of the classroom!

Here are the top 8 languages students want to learn abroad based on the latest survey results:

*Ranking is based on the percentage of students who want to study in a country where the particular language is spoken by the majority of the population.

1.   English

If you choose to study a program in English, you’ll be among the largest group of language learners—English is by far the most commonly studied foreign language in the world. According to the survey data, about 23% of students who prioritized learning a foreign language chose to study in a country where English is the primary language. An official language in 55 countries, English is the primary language of trade and business communication. For students who love traveling and living abroad, knowing English boosts your chances of landing a job at multinational companies. 

2.   Spanish

 Already know English and want to pick up another language quickly? Spanish may be a good choice for you since it’s considered one of the easiest foreign languages to learn for English speakers. Did you know over 572 million people speak Spanish worldwide, of which 477 million people are native speakers. Plus, it’s the main language in 21 different countries. If you dream of traveling around the world, the Spanish language can take you far! 

3.   Swedish

 While Swedish might not be the first language people choose to study in school, Sweden is known for being a forward-thinking, open, and welcoming country. This makes it a highly desirable place to live, study, and work and many newcomers choose to learn Swedish after their arrival. Swedish people themselves love learning languages: of all the EU countries, Sweden has the highest percentage of people who know at least one foreign language!   

4.   German

 A language with a 44-letter word and enough grammar rules to frighten the most accomplished linguist, German is not for the faint of heart. However, the benefits of adding German to your verbal repertoire are many: It’s the most widely spoken native language in the European Union and is an official language in seven countries. If you want to live and work in Europe, learning German could open many doors. 

5.   Italian

 Italy: the country of world-renowned traditional cuisine, gracious hospitality, and picture-perfect views. It’s no surprise students want to learn one of the most beautiful languages spoken in over 30 countries around the world! If you dream of sharing a perfectly parmesaned plate of pasta with your pals, learning Italian is your ticket to la bella vita!

 6.   French

 The French language is an extremely popular one to learn since it’s the only language besides English to be taught in every country in the world. Famous for being the language of romance, French is also relatively easy to learn for native English speakers. If you dream of being able to read the classics of Simone de Beauvoir or Marcel Proust in their original language or simply want to discuss them while seated at a chic sidewalk cafe, learning French is a must.

7.   Dutch

 Another language to master quickly is Dutch, which has been cited as the fourth easiest language to learn! Many Dutch words are spelled the same as their English counterparts, and its similarity to German makes it an easy stepping-stone if learning German is also on your agenda. Students interested in learning Dutch may want to travel to the Netherlands or Belgium where it is spoken as an official language.

8.   Chinese

As the language with the highest number of native speakers in the world, Mandarin Chinese is a popular language to learn for business, travel, and culture. While learning to write can be challenging, its verbal structure is fairly simple. It’s an extremely useful language for international business due to China’s rapidly developing social and economic market. If you’ve got a brain for business, learning Mandarin is a great choice!

Before packing your bags to jet-set on a study abroad adventure, consider brushing up on your language skills with the new and fun way to learn languages, Drops! Which language will you choose?

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About the Author: Keely Witherow is a writer and content editor for study abroad portal educations.com and professional training search engine findcourses.co.uk.

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