When one says, “Scandinavian languages” they commonly refer to Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. Because of their mutual intelligibility and the overall allure of Scandinavia, this group is turning out to be the most sought after languages to learn.
Here is a list of reasons that will prove the Scandinavian languages are worth learning:
- Be a linguist (three in one package)
- Study in Europe (high standard of education)
- Career growth (impress your employers)
- Business expansion (rich and stable economy)
- Migrate or retire in Europe (one of the best places to live in)
- Travel to Europe (breathtaking landscapes and architecture)
Scandinavia has a lot to offer and even if you initially plan to just learn the language without actually going there, you will surely want to book a ticket after reading more on why learning Scandinavian languages will be worth it.
Be a linguist
If you aim to be a linguist, learning Scandinavian languages is a three in one package because of their mutual intelligibility due to their shared history. Learning one Scandinavian language means you can understand and learn the other two with less difficulties. The Scandinavian languages will also open up easier learning opportunities for other European languages also. Other groups of languages that are close to Scandinavian are the Baltic-Finnic and Sami languages.
Advantages of being a linguist:
- Studies have proven that there are cognitive benefits to learning foreign languages. It improves your analytical, communication, and problem solving skills. You get to increase your creativity and you are more likely able to deal with abstract concepts. You also get to have a longer attention span, improved memory, and lesser chances of age-related decline in your cognitive skills.
- You become open-minded and feel less prejudice towards people from different races and culture. You get the advantage of developing a more positive attitude overall. You get to appreciate the culture of others as well as your own.
- You get to meet more interesting people and you yourself become more interesting. Conversing with a foreigner can teach you a lot of things. They do things differently in their own part of the world and you can pick up a lot of lessons. Making the effort to learn another language makes you unique – especially if English is already your native language and you know that you really do not need to learn a second language because English is spoken all over. The things you learn as a multilingual person will definitely make you more interesting to other people.
Study in Europe
If you want to study abroad, the education system in Scandinavia is considered to be one of the best.
For its citizens, the education system is free until you graduate from college. Scandinavians are more likely to get higher education because of this no matter what their financial status is. Even the private schools ask for lesser fees. As a foreigner or an exchange student, you get to pay lesser fees for education and there are tons of scholarships that you can avail in order to study in Scandinavia. Education is clearly a priority in these countries and they take good care of their teachers. It is no wonder that they are considered to be the standard to look up to when it comes to education in the whole world.
Still unconvinced? Here is a list of reasons why you should consider studying in Scandinavia:
- Immerse yourself in a new culture Immersion is a huge advantage according to international students. Being in a new environment with a different language and way of life is a very enriching experience that you will never forget. You will be able to push yourself to do things that you never thought you would and meet a lot of interesting people. The lessons you learn when you immerse yourself in another country are always lessons that you can take with you and pass on to your kids.
- High support for research and innovation All Scandinavian countries are very consistent when it comes to producing innovative solutions and helpful research to the world. The government’s funding and support for innovation and research brings together students, academics, entrepreneurs, and inventors to turn their ideas into a reality. It is just right that Scandinavia is the home of the highly acclaimed Nobel Prizes.
- Career opportunities The main reason why you are getting a degree is to improve your chances of getting career prospects. Employers see the advantage of hiring a graduate who has international experience and education. You may even be hired in Scandinavia when you graduate from their universities. In fact, you can work in Scandinavia while you are studying as long as you have a working permit and you only take a part-time load of 20 hours per week. Working in Scandinavia is the dream because you have lesser than the usual work hours – you go to work early but you leave in the early afternoons as mandated by the government so that workers can spend more time with their families or to have fun and relax.
- Make new social circles No matter what university you go to, you will surely meet a lot of new people, adding a new social circle in your life. A lot of lifelong friendships start in college and the connections you make in Scandinavia can be very useful to you someday.
- Be truly independent College is the time where you truly become more independent from the guidance of your parents and family. A lot of students are encouraged to study in a university out of town for the independence factor. This will help them adjust to adult life easily when they graduate. What more if you go to a university abroad? It will be harder but to rise up to that kind of challenge calls for strength and determination – traits that truly make you independent and ready for the real world.
If you are looking for career growth, learning a foreign language is a plus point on your resume and will open up a whole new level of job opportunities for you. Good working skills and being a linguist will make you a valuable asset in the industry and gives you a competitive edge.
- A lot of companies find Scandinavian is an impressive language to learn – especially for multinational companies who have business operations in Europe . You can easily climb up the ranks of the corporate ladder when you become fluent in the Scandinavian languages.
- Industries are turning global and there is a demand for bilingual and multilingual professionals. Some companies even pay for the language classes of their best employees because they see the advantage of being a linguist while doing international deals.
- Learning a foreign language gets you a higher salary. There are companies that increases the salaries of multilingual employers between 10 and 15%. In fact, US military personnel who know a foreign language is rumored to have an extra $1000 per month on their salaries.
- Although there is always the option to hire a translator or interpreter, companies prefer managers and real representatives of the company to meet and greet their foreign clients and partners.
If you are looking for business opportunities, Scandinavia is considered to be among the richest countries in the world with the most stable economies. Here is a list of reasons why you should expand your business in Scandinavia:
- High GDP The Scandinavian countries have the advantage of having more land and less population. This makes it easy for the population to provide for themselves and give them the means to export high-quality products. In fact Forbes have listed the Scandinavian countries among the top 15 best countries for business (2018 ranking) with Sweden in the second spot, Denmark in the seventh, and Norway in the fifteenth. While the World Population Review have the Scandinavian countries among the top 15 richest countries in the world of 2019 with Norway getting the second spot, Denmark getting the eight spot, and Sweden getting the eleventh spot.
- Favorable economic location Scandinavian countries are surrounded by the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans and the North and Baltic Seas. These waters are rich in fish and the coastal areas have significant amounts of oil deposits. The location also makes them a favorable area for water transportation.
- They have their market specialties Norway is a known manufacturer of oil. Sweden is known for its high-quality steel. Denmark is one of the leaders in the world for renewable energy. Specializing in their own niches have made their products instantly stand out as the best among the best.
- They have a great financial and tax model Scandinavian wealth is a result of their financial management. The taxes are higher than usual but the wealth distribution makes their citizens pay without bitterness because they immediately see and feel the results of their taxes. Education is free and health care is cheap. The money is not only used for the poor, elderly, unemployed, and low-income citizens but it is also used to help invest in developments involving science, health, and technology for future success.
- Most innovative countries in the world Scandinavian countries are the best when it comes to innovations and research. In fact, it has often been recognized for their digital economy. You can find machines doing menial jobs in these countries. The government is willing to fund innovative ideas and research and also business startups that have the potential to be beneficial to the good of the public.
- A lot of multinational companies are now reaching out to Europe for expansion and learning Scandinavian will be useful if you want to expand business operations or do a completely new startup in Europe. Although Scandinavians are also known to be good English speakers, knowing that you took the effort to learn their language will impress your potential business partners and customers. Someone who has dedicated a significant amount of time to learn their language can be considered more trustworthy compared to someone who needs an interpreter and this will be very beneficial especially when it comes to establishing international relations.
Migrate or retire in Europe
If you want to retire in Europe, Scandinavia is one of the best choices for you. In fact, the 2018 Global Retirement Index has ranked Switzerland in the first place, Norway in the third place, and Denmark in the eight place in the Top 10 list of best countries for retirement.
Reasons to move to Scandinavia:
- Scandinavian countries are often in the list of the happiest places on earth. With their shorter workdays, longer holidays, free education, cheap healthcare, low crime rate, less pollution, and family values, it is no wonder that Scandinavians are healthy and happy. Anyone would want to pack up their things and to be a citizen. It is no wonder that the “Scandinavian dream” is considered to outrank the “American dream” these days.
- There is an outstanding record of peace and security in Scandinavia. These countries have the lowest crime rates in the world. The citizens have high faith in their judicial system and the police. And despite their Viking roots, which is usually portrayed as violent and living an alcoholic lifestyle, alcohol in these region come with high inflated prices. The lower alcohol consumption has contributed positively to the lower crime rate.
Travel to Europe
Scandinavia is one of the most breath-taking destinations you can travel to in Europe and it is recommended that you take a long trip there to make the best out of it (three days is not enough!). There is no doubt that the travel experience will be more pleasant without a language barrier getting in the way.
Why travel to Scandinavia?
- Nature and wildlife Scandinavia is best known for its scenic natural landscapes. You can find a lot of forests, green fields, lovely farms, and small towns in the area. The animal population is also very diverse because of its rich natural resources. It is a region where you can find both polar and brown bears.
- Snow in summer Scandinavia is attractive to foreigners who want to enjoy snow even if it is summer. Even in the peak of July a lot of Norwegian ski resorts are still covered with snow.
- Aurora borealis The Northern lights are a very beautiful and rare natural phenomena that is a must-see in almost everyone’s bucket list. One of the best places to see them is in the Scandinavian countries, particularly in Norway. Some tourists would spend a fortune in search of the famous natural lights. Some go home disappointed but it is the unpredictability that makes it so alluring. They say the northern lights are visible depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. Most people visit Norway at the darkest and coldest time of the year (October to March) to increase their chances of seeing the beautiful dancing lights.
- Culture and history Scandinavian countries can give a lot to culture and history lovers. There is a huge variety of museums, castles, cathedrals, and monuments to explore.
- Country hopping is easy Visiting all Scandinavian countries is easier because all Nordic countries, except for Greenland, are members of the Schengen Agreement. The agreement has made public transport links possible which is cheap and easy. Sweden and Denmark is actually just a train ride away from each other.
- Scandinavian cuisine Scandinavia is surrounded by oceans and seas so it is no wonder that the Scandinavian cuisine consists mostly of seafood. You can find a lot of huge and fresh seafood in their markets. There is also the famous Swedish meatballs and Swedish chocolate. Denmark is known for a lot of sweet pastries as well. You will never go hungry in a Scandinavian country.
- Safety Scandinavia has an unbelievably low crime rate. It is probably one of the safest place for solo travelers. The locals are very friendly and are always willing to help. But even so, this does not mean that there are no shady people in Scandinavia. Tourists are often eyed as easy targets by criminals and scammers because they stand out and they do not understand the language. Learning the language will help you blend in and stay safe.
Is it hard to learn Scandinavian languages?
All three Scandinavian languages have a learning difficulty of Category I as ranked by the Foreign Service Institute. This is the easiest category because the languages under this category are considered to be similar to English. It is estimated that it will take 575 to 600 class hours or 23 to 24 weeks to learn the languages under Category I.
Which Scandinavian language should you learning first?
A lot of linguists recommend to learn Norwegian first since it is the common denominator among all three. Norwegian and Danish use the same alphabet so the way the words are written is similar but the way the words are pronounced is different. Norwegian and Swedish words are pronounced similarly but the way the words are written is different.
How can you learn the Scandinavian languages while living outside Scandinavia
Your first option would be to look for a language school online and enroll for Scandinavian classes. This route is the most convenient option because there may be no traditional classes in your location and you can choose your schedule. Although you can train yourself to self learn the language by reading Scandinavian books, watching Scandinavian shows, and listening to Scandinavian podcasts and radio, attending online classes gives you a formal structure of learning that will make the whole process easier for you.