1. It enables access to information. More than 55% of all web pages are in English. To give way to cliché, information is knowledge and knowledge is power. Plus, it is the official language of more countries than any other idiom. If you are keen on names and lists, begin this one with the U.K. and the U.S., of course, but be sure to also include outlandish places such as Zimbabwe, Hong Kong or The Caribbean, after you have added European territories such as Malta or some parts of The Netherlands (keep in mind that England was the world’s largest colonial empire!). Don’t overlook the importance of English as far as popular culture goes– just think of how many songs and movies in this language comprise your daily entertainment. The media hype has slowly turned English into the easiest languages to absorb which works to the best advantage of a potential learner.
2. It is the second most spoken language in the world– after Mandarin (China is, after all, the most populated country in the world). To speak in numbers, English is the official language for over 70 states.
3. Good news: it is not Mandarin Chinese, to continue the parallel between the two languages, hence there are no abstract symbols to tackle. You can still count on the good old ABC to get you through.
4. Key for (better) jobs– English language skills are no longer seen as a marker of the elite, but have turned into a basic competence for potential employees to possess or acquire.
5. Virtually all international business is conducted in English. Since we can’t escape the comparison, with such a growing market as the Chinese one, apparently the English language is sure to maintain and reinforce its dominance within this field for the years to come (and we will let you in on a little secret: the country with the highest number of English learners is, amazingly enough, China).
6. It is your passport for working abroad- if you like a challenge or are simply in search of a change, your chances of finding a job overseas increase significantly if you are an English speaker. It is considered to be the most valuable languages to know, followed- at quite a distance- by French, Spanish and Chinese.
7. …and your best travel companion- be it survival English, the kind that helps you find your way around town and decipher a menu, or advanced English, enabling you to actually communicate, speaking this language is guaranteed to provide free and unhindered movement, making everything easier and more accessible when abroad.
8. International communication is made easy in any circumstance– as it is slowly becoming a lingua franca, allowing the circulation of news and ideas beyond the need for translation, don’t judge yourself too harshly if you’re not perfect at expressing yourself in English. Very few non-native and even native speakers actually are. The key is to keep calm- where have you heard this before?- and continue to speak. To invoke a further argument, the British Council reports that by 2020, two billion people will be studying English- this may just qualify as power in numbers.
9. Top universities are waiting for you- English language is a decisive factor which will determine if you are eligible or not for a program to study abroad. If you decide to study in Berlin, for instance, speaking German is not mandatory, but English is. Admissions exams for international students are usually in English and there are several language tests to be passed, such as TOEFL or CAE, before you become a freshman at Yale or Cambridge.
10. The pleasure of reading Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, J.R. Tolkien…. or Dan Brown (according to preference) in original. In other words, the intellectual delight. English is not just about business, gaining influence and interacting, it is also opening oneself to words, to both the magic and the power beyond them.