21 May, Tuesday
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Proakatemian esseepankki

The importance of learning English (as a European)

Kirjoittanut: Sade Elo - tiimistä Empiria.

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Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 5 minuuttia.

The world is getting smaller and especially younger generations are hearing and using English more in their daily lives. I got the idea to write this essay as I am reflecting my New Zealander boyfriend´s journey as an English speaking padel coach here in Tampere. Why is it beneficial to know English as a European especially if you are business minded person?

The ability to travel

I would think most of us travels somewhere outside of Finland yearly, perhaps for a business trip or just for a yearly holiday. I am sure everyone knows the older Finnish generation who have conquered Spain, Canary Island and the beaches in Turkey and left the locals speaking Finnish. Well, this is one way to put Finland on the map and be known around the world, but new generations are willing to work harder to make impression and make Finland known for our skills in a business world using their strong English language skills. I mean, everyone knows Nokia, Angry Birds and Kimi Räikkönen, right? But then how many knows they are from Finland?

To understand why it is good to know English while traveling, let’s start from the basics. By speaking English with foreigners in different countries, your understanding of different cultures will increase. Communication and learning from foreigners allow you to build stronger relationships, even during short trips, and therefore gain new experiences. Travelling as a backpacker in Australia and New Zealand taught me that travellers are seldom from the same place, so having any kind of socialising requires you to speak to strangers with a common language. Sharing experiences, life stories and lifelong memories in a foreign country, with non-locals who don’t speak the same first language as you, teaches how to be understanding, patient, and forces you to work together towards a common goal, which is an understandable conversation. I have met many times, Europeans with very limited English skills, and it was difficult for me to build social interactions with them.

It’s odd that we still have countries in Europe where teaching or hearing English is not a common thing. Television shows has been subbed and even teachers’ English skills are extremely weak. I feel like countries like this are well behind in globalisation and are taking away opportunities from their residents. In my opinion it highlights the outdated idea that where you are born is where you will live all your life, you are not given many tools to change your life, and the rest of the world is developing to be multicultural and more open and connected.

The ability to make international connections

As I mentioned above it is important to know another language than yours to create more opportunities for yourself. In the business world especially, it is extremely beneficial to have connections around the world. As an entrepreneur you always want to be able to compare the prices, methods, sources of the material etc. International industry connections could live in that country and have a better understanding what you need and for what price. Also, the information received from around the world helps you to make better business plans, gives you a better understanding of the global situation, and might give you ideas that you would have never thought of, because it´s not something that is familiar in your country. Social media has given people the opportunity to connect easier and build relationships with people around the world, regardless of your background, and we should use it to our benefit.

Getting a wider range of sources and perspectives

Knowing another language, especially the most common language in the world, gives you so much wider range of sources and perspectives. Imagine living in Finland and knowing only Finnish. We have no other option than blindly believing Finnish media about global and local current affairs. We would miss out on alternate opinions that could affect what kind of news or information we would get. We see this happening in countries like China, North Korea and Russia where information is highly censored, and their governments control what information is given to their citizens and propaganda is easy to push.
Knowing another language allows you to find the information yourself and lets you make your own opinions of things. It also gives you so much more tools to educate yourself workwise too. How much we can watch videos from YouTube nowadays and we learn to fix our cars, or we can become self-taught coders, just to mention a few benefits. Information about these things is so much more available in English than Finnish. And, you have more opportunities to compare the sources of the information.

Watching videos online or following someone on social media gives you an opportunity to interact with likeminded people. Imagine having some rare interests, for example collecting postcards around the world. Finding an international Facebook group with similar minded people helps you to collect postcards around the world faster than having only with your small friend group in Finland, and you would get only couple new cards every year? This also creates an amazing opportunity to make friends! Isn’t it awesome how you can jump on a plane and travel around the world to meet someone who you met on social media through similar kind of interests? And likewise, people will visit you in your home country and you get the opportunity to create an amazing and exotic experience for someone else! It’s not uncommon that likeminded people have started to work together and build an international business right away. Of course, different cultures and backgrounds causes different kind of issues but once overcoming them, the positive impact what you get is so valuable in our constantly changing world.

So why is it beneficial for Europeans to learn English, especially if you are a business minded person?
Compared the sizes of our European countries to India, China or USA we don’t have overpower on markets because of manufacturing, logistic and work power issues, just to mention a few. Although we have a lot of knowledge and skills, to become successful, to create bigger work opportunities for ourselves and getting our products to market with higher volume, we need to become more international and co-operate with bigger countries that have larger markets. Nordic countries have a lot of same skills, understanding of businesses and similar kind of cultures, I believe that teaming up with smaller European countries increases our reach in the business world and political world.

Besides taking our products to the world, what we also want is to take our skills and skilful people around the globe. No matter what field you are good at, if you are representing Finland, you are benefitting our country for our future generations to come. “Learning English will make you more employable to not just businesses in the UK and US, but also businesses across the world. With English, you’ll be valuable to any company. And you’ll be rewarded for your knowledge, too. By learning English you can create a bright future where you can earn and work almost anywhere in the world.” (Taylor 2021.)

And as said before, the world is getting more connected, and people are moving around the globe so these days you can easily end up in a Padel class that is run by New Zealander, and you should be able to communicate together without a problem. Or here at Proakatemia we have international classmates, and our common language is English. I am sure when the world is opening up after covid-19 we will meet more and more English-speaking skilful people here in Finland too, and that’s going to be our normal future.


Taylor, C. 2021. The Importance of English: The world Language of 2020 and Beyond? Viitattu 5.2.2022.