Why learn Italian

Italian is a very popular language at Euroasia, which is curious, because not many people speak Italian outside of Italy. Here we explore the key reasons why you should consider learning Italian.

  • Italian is one of Europe’s leading languages, with roughly as many mother-tongue speakers on the continent as English and French.
  • Young Kiwis can go and work in Italy for one

    year under a working holiday scheme.  A knowledge of the Italian language would obviously make a huge difference to anyone’s job prospects.

  • Italy is probably the greatest magnet for anyone interested in the history of western art and civilisation; it’s like a vast cultural treasure house.   Even a limited knowledge of the language helps to introduce some of the works of art.
  • Three cities in Italy are of paramount interest: Rome as the capital of the ancient empire and the heart of the Catholic church; Florence as the cradle of the Renaissance; and Venice as a unique and unforgettable link between eastern and western European styles.
  • Italy has made huge contributions to scientific progress, with Leonardo and Galileo being just two of the most obvious names.
  • Since the time of Boccaccio and Dante, Italian writing has been at the forefront of European literature.
  • Italy was the home of opera, and many of the world’s greatest works were composed in Italian; even today, Italian is the international language of music.
  • Italian food has achieved worldwide fame, and nearly all of us could name a good few Italian dishes and culinary expressions.
  • Italy has long been synonymous with fashion, elegance and design; go and see for yourself!
  • Italian cinema has long had a worldwide reputation, as have many directors and filmstars.
  • Italy is not just “culture”: the modern country has one of Europe’s largest economies.  And Italian cities are not just museum pieces: they are full of vitality and energy, which nearly everyone finds infectious.
  • The Italian landscape is incredibly varied, ranging from alpine to mediterranean, and the picturesque villages and small towns give it tremendous character.

Find out more about learning Italian with Euroasia. To enrol for a Italian course, check out the Italian timetable on the Euroasia website. Last intake for 2008 is coming up on 10 November.

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Why learn German

German has traditionally been a very popular language in New Zealand. German is the main language of Germany and Austria. It is also spoken in: Switzerland (most of the country), Luxemburg, in small pockets in countries neighbouring Germany or Austria (Belgium, Italy etc.), Namibia; and widely spoken in eastern Europe and the Balkans as a second language

The number of mother-tongue speakers worldwide total about 110,000,000.

Here are some key reasons why New Zealanders should consider learning German.

  • German is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union.
  • Germany has the largest economy in the EU, and is an industrial giant on the world stage.  Companies and organisations from Siemens to Carl Zeiss, BMW and the Deutsche Bank have formidable reputations world-wide.
  • German technology and know-how are widely respected around the world, and organisational skills are immediately apparent when one visits any of the German-speaking countries.
  • New Zealand has to engage more with the German-speaking world if it is to establish a stronger base for its exports in Europe.
  • Young Kiwis can go and work in Germany for oneyear under a working holiday scheme.   A knowledge of the German language would obviously help enormously on this particular OE!
  • Some of the big cities such as Berlin are among the liveliest in Europe, with an enormous range of events throughout the year, many of them geared to the younger population.
  • Young people in Germany seem to be on the same kind of wavelength as young Kiwis; they usually get on well.
  • The Germans and the Swiss come to New Zealand in large numbers – and usually love it!
  • Germans are usually very environmentally aware, and are often innovators in green


  • Germany has a rich cultural heritage, and has made huge contributions to world literature, painting, music and philosophy.
  • The German-speaking world has produced thinkers whose ideas have changed the way people look at the world: from Luther to Marx, to Einstein and to Freud.
  • People are often surprised by the beauty of the German countryside, with its dense forests and deep valleys, also by the charms of its many historical towns and villages.  Austria and Switzerland have wonderful mountain landscapes.  And with extensive hiking trails, all three countries are a tramper’s paradise!

Find out more about learning German with Euroasia. To enrol for a German course, check out the German timetable on the Euroasia website. Last intake for 2008 is coming up on 10 November.

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Obama says learn Spanish

Obama gave this talk in Georgia recently, on the campaign trail, encouraging locals to learn Spanish.

Obama: “I agree that immigrants should learn English…but understand this…instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English, they’ll learn English, you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish!”

Obviously not a very popular message in the American heartland, but only something that Obama can pull off. Check this out.

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Recession: The best time to learn a language

Recently I wrote that Britons are missing out on jobs at home and abroad because of their inability to speak languages other than English. Leonard Orban, the EU commissioner for multilingualism, says that small- to medium-sized companies in the UK are increasingly turning to foreign nationals to fill jobs that call for more than one language. In previous articles, I’ve explored the reasons why people need to learn a second language.

In recessionary times, it’s even more important to keep improving and to consider learning a second language. Now is the time to be upskilling to future proof yourself. The ability to speak a second language puts your business or your job prospects one step ahead of the competition. You are also demonstrating to future employers that you have what it takes to stick to something. Employers realise that people who embark on language learning have some key characteristics that are highly valued in such times: commitment and dedication being some key ones.

The reasons people give for not learning a language include lack of time, the cost involved and the difficulty of the subject area. Part of what makes knowing a language a great skill to have is simply because it’s not that easy for someone to acquire fluency. If it was, it would quickly lose it’s value and won’t be treasured as much.

Let’s think about it this way. What if you manage to land a big business deal in Asia or Europe, or secure a great job, because you speak a second language? What if you get yourself out of a sticky situation in a foreign country because you speak the local language?  What if you find the love of your life as a result of your language learning journey?  At Euroasia, we’ve seen these things happen, and we certainly deem it a privelege for us to play a small role in ensuring the success of our clients.

The economy may be going through recessionary times, but your personal life shouldn’t. This is the time to be preparing yourself

for the next boom.

There is one final opportunity to enrol for a language course in 2008. Euroasia has an intake starting 10 Nov.

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Language classes next week

Last chance to commence your language learning journey this year.

We have an intake starting next week. Check out our timetable at www.euroasia.co.nz or call us at 0800 EUROASIA (0800 387627)

Limited spaces available for

And higher level classes as well… check out www.euroasia.co.nz for more info.

Euroasia's teachers are experienced, qualified and dynamic native speakers. They are able to offer an authentic cultural experience via small interactive classes, with no more than 10 people, allowing for personal attention from the teachers and real student participation. Our courses are uniquely designed for Kiwis. Course fee includes all relevant course materials.

tutoring is available to acquaint Kiwis moving abroad with social and business norms and practical aspects of life in different countries.

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Learn languages or lose out on jobs

Britons are missing out on jobs at home and abroad because of their inability to speak languages other than English, the European Union commissioner for languages has warned. I came across an interesting article that is perhaps informative for us here in New Zealand.

Leonard Orban, the EU commissioner for multilingualism, says that small- to medium-sized companies in the UK are increasingly turning to foreign nationals to fill jobs that call for more than one language.

His comments came as it emerged that the European Commission is facing such a severe shortage of native English-speaking interpreters that meetings are being cancelled. The commission also warns that it may have to cut the number of documents it translates because of the dwindling number of British students with degrees in French and German.

Since 2002, member states have been committed to a policy of working towards all citizens speaking their mother tongue plus two other languages. A league table to be in place by 2010 will show the competence of students in different EU countries at the end of compulsory schooling. It is widely accepted that Britain will be near the bottom.

If British graduates are missing out on jobs because they are on the whole monolingual, then surely this is true, if not more so, for New Zealand graduates as well. The tragedy is that we live in ignorance of this fact. I have yet to see any local publication talk about this issue.

Does this mean we should force everyone to start learning a second language? No.

Not everyone is into language learning, in the same way that not everyone is into algebra. However, students who are keen to explore language learning should be given the opportunities and encouragement to do so.

Increasingly, knowledge of a second language is not just something that's nice to have, but an economic imperative.

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Want to go overseas but can't speak the language?

Recent government research published in the UK showed that two thirds of teenagers intend to work abroad in Europe or Asia when they leave school even though most of them speak no foreign language.

This from Times Online:

More than half (58 per cent) of 11-18 year olds say they have no foreign language skills whatsoever, yet 66 per cent are planning to work for up to two years in Italy, Spain, France or China.

The research is further evidence that most young people assume they can get by in a foreign country by speaking English, and comes just weeks after official GCSE data showed the number of children taking formal exams in foreign languages has fallen yet again.

I think the figures would be similar in New Zealand. Practically ev

ery New Zealand kid wants to do the overseas experience (OE).  My colleague Peter wrote an excellent article in May 08 about why learning a little bit of language is better than nothing.

Even Air New Zealand is now giving preference to people who can speak other languages. This from their flight attendant recruitment website:

Special attention is given to the cultural and language needs especially relating to the Airline's key markets such as Asia, Japan and Europe. A second language is preferred and priority will be given to applicants who are fluent in Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, German, French and the languages of the South Pacific.

I bet you didn't know that…

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