Which country makes it easiest to learn a new language?

During Relocate Global’s Great International Education and Schools’ Fair and ECIS' Multilingual Week, new research from Preply shows which countries offer the best environment for language learning.

Image of child doing language homework
The benefits of being multilingual or bilingual go far beyond enhanced lifetime earning potential. Being able to communicate with a wider range of people supports greater cultural awareness and opportunities for true cultural exchange, which in turn link to the concept of global citizenship.As well as promoting and developing empathy, learning a new language also helps boosts mental agility and cognition. For children of relocating families, for all these reasons and more, language skills are fundamental to well-rounded experiences overseas.
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Cyprus takes top spot

Internationally mobile children and their families have many options when it comes to selecting schools and education while on the move. Language is often an important consideration.  Digital learning platform Preply’s Worldwide Language Index provides some useful background information into how language infrastructure both at and beyond school lends itself to foreign language acquisition. The Index analyses 30 countries according to 18 factors indicative of a supportive language learning environment. These 18 factors were split across seven categories, with each country then ranked from 1 to 30 based on their scores:
  1. the number of official languages
  2. the degree of multilingualism
  3. language learning at school
  4. level of command of best-known foreign language
  5. access to language learning through technology
  6. subtitles and voiceover
  7. and language diversity.
Luxembourg ranks first in the index as the best country overall for language learning, with the maximum scores for children learning a foreign language in primary school and mastery of second languages.The Grand Duchy is followed by Cyprus, which scored the maximum marks for foreign-language learning, language learning at school and subtitling, while Sweden is third.

The impact of English as international language of business

At the opposite end of the performance table, the UK – with only 10% of children learning a foreign language in primary school – ranks 25th in the Index of 30 countries, followed by Canada (26), Poland (27), Bulgaria (28), Italy (29) and the United States (30).The USA ranks the worst country for language learning, despite having the highest number of spoken languages.With English as the international language of business, it’s easy for citizens of English-speaking countries to overlook the multiple benefits of learning a second language, says Preply.“Learning a second language is a skill that requires time, dedication, and effort.” says Kirill Bigai, CEO of Preply. “Citizens born into countries with foreign language learning part of the national framework have a tremendous advantage.”

Learn more about the benefits of multilingualism by signing up to Multilingual Week with ECIS and accessing Relocate Global’s International Education and Schools Guides, Great International Education & Schools' Fair webinar recordings and articles.

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