What are the five best languages that you can learn to be prepared in a changing world?
Hi, I’m Andrew Henderson. I’m the editor at the nomad capitalists.
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When I started Nomad capitalist I originally wrote a special report and one of the things that I recommend that people do in order to maximize their potential to find freedom was to learn a second language. A lot of native English speakers only speak English and around the world that is becoming increasingly useful for getting by even when you go to places like Vietnam, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and South America.
More and more people are speaking English but if you want to be an entrepreneur, if you want to have the best job, if you want to start a really successful business or make a great insider investment, the kind that we talked about at nomad capitalists, it can be very helpful to learn a second language.
For example, I spent a lot of time in China and I think it’s one of the best business cultures on earth yet less than 1% of the population in China speaks any English at all. And as the culture becomes more and more successful, China and other countries like it will have less of use to do business with foreigners as they build up more and more domestic business opportunities and they can do business with each other.
So let me share with you my top five languages that you could learn to expand your opportunities in a changing world.
Now the first language number five on the list is Portuguese. Now you might ask yourself you know why Portuguese. It’s not really that significant of a language some people have told me but here’s the reality. Portugal where of course it is from is a European country that as much as I don’t like Western Europe has a lot of opportunities right now. Portugal got hit very hard I the recession but unlike a country like Spain which has done a lot of the wrong things and has fought business and success and people with money.
Portugal hasn’t been nearly as bad at rejecting capital, so Portugal is not a bad place to be right now but also, of course, Brazil has a lot of people. 200 million of people down in South America and even though it’s stumbled and it’s not the economy of once was the bricks aren’t is ballyhoo it is they once where I see a lot of great things in the midterm for Brazil and especially if you’re an American or Canadian and you’re looking for a place where you can go and benefit from better weather benefit from a laid-back culture and still do some business or buy some real estate. Portuguese is a great language to learn and of course, there are some African nations where Portuguese is also still spoken.
And now number 4 language for you to consider learning is Russian. Russia isn’t exactly a fast-growing superpower. People at one point said that Russia’s population was actually shrinking due to such a low birthrate that’s turned around now. It’s very slow population growth but it’s still there now.
Here’s why Russian is important. First of all, for the things we talk about here at nomad capitalists the Russians are they have a wealthy contingent where there are a lot of opportunities to market to those people. I’ve said on planes next to people I’ve met people at conferences who run thriving businesses selling to Russians, things like real estate in places like Spain and Latvia and other places in Europe, Southeast Europe as well.
There are a lot of wealthy Russians who are looking to put their money in various places they love investing in very lavish projects. I was in Cambodia where Russians are investing hundreds of millions of dollars leasing out islands off the coast and developing him into luxury villa complexes. And so Russian is a great language to learn if you’re looking to do business and that high and market which is something that I think is a good business strategy, but you’ve also got other people in other areas in Eastern Europe.
I guess states that speak Russian or understand Russian and those are places where I see emerging opportunities. Latvia is my favorite place in the Baltic States. It’s a very livable place and there’s a large minority of Russian people there that you could work with as well.
Now the number three best language to learn is one that a lot of people in the Western world have some familiarity with and that’s Spanish. I and many others learn Spanish when we were in high school and you may have as well.
Spanish is actually a pretty easy language to learn, compared especially to Russian or some of the others on this list. But there are a lot of countries in the world that of course speak Spanish. Central America, South America, these are where some of the world’s hotspots are. I’m a big fan of Central American countries like Nicaragua. And if you go to these places you’ll see that the English penetration isn’t as great as you might expect especially considering how great English is growing as a second language in places like in Asia and elsewhere.
Spanish is a language that everyone in the region in Central and South America pretty much speaks and so there’s not as much of a requirement to learn English.
So it’s a good language if you’re looking to do business in those places. Again a lot of Americans would love to live in places like Central America, South America. So it allows you to get by and actually live in these places. But if you’re looking to do deals whether it’s cheap farmland in Paraguay or Ecuador whether it’s you know big real estate projects in Panama oceanfront real estate in Nicaragua or Costa Rica, you need to know Spanish and of course you can also use that in Spain not that I recommend people do much business these days in Spanish, a no-brainer language to look into learning.
Now the number two most valuable language you should consider learning may shock some people but it is Arabic. And it is the primary language of a lot of the world’s up-and-coming nations. A lot of the wealth centers as well as a lot of frontier markets which were big fans up here at Nomad capitalist. The Middle East is really second probably to Asia when it comes to being the biggest formidable player not only to some fast-growing economies but also global finance and investment.
And so if you speak Arabic you’ll have an advantage because some of these economies are a little bit more insular than you might find elsewhere. Places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi are becoming international financial centers. They’re looking to increase their status I think that we’ll see a pretty formidable comparison to one of these places. And Switzerland the not-too-distant future as places like Dubai really Ramped up their efforts to be a hub for finance.
But you’ve also got just like in Russia. A lot of wealthy Middle Easterners who are looking to diversify their wealth outside the region if you can help them and you understand their language that’s a big plus now beyond just some of the wealthy oil States which by the way are some of the wealthiest in the world.
I mean you look at Qatar, for example, there are few nations on earth, not even the United States, not Canada that are wealthier than Qatar. So talk about an opportunity but that’s one of those oil States.
Arabic is also the language that you’ll speak in some of the ultra frontier markets, like parts of northern Africa Iraq. Tunisia is more developed now. You can laugh and say well what do you need to go to Iraq for I mean the reality is people are making a fortune right now buying real estate in parts of Iraq. Now that’s not something that you can do at the moment if you’re not an Iraqi but those things will eventually become liberal. I liberalized when I see a lot of opportunities for people who do speak Arabic to be able to go to these places. If you’re looking for a little more adventurous opportunity that would be a good language to learn and it is spoken really northern Eastern Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere now.
The number one language you should consider learning will come to no surprise to my readers and that is Mandarin Chinese. It’s no secret that China is making big inroads into the global marketplace. China has decreased its buying of us funny money. And China is really looking to position itself as the new global leader with a global reserve currency with some of the world’s best opportunities.
And as I said fewer than I believe 10 million people in China actually speak English and when you consider the 1.4 billion population there that’s statistically irrelevant. I’ve spent time in China and I’ve met people who I’ll be introduced to a so that you know they speak English to talk to them and the reality is a lot of people who speak English in China speak it the same way that you or I might speak Spanish that we learned in high school. You know Chinese is a language that people can learn and really make a lot of inroads because so few foreigners speak it.
China is expanding its influence all over the world you they’re making huge investments in Africa.Chinese consumers in the country are desperate for all kinds of resources they want better products they want better services they want to travel more.The the list of ways you could monetize knowing Chinese and having some connection to Chinese culture in my mind are endless as 1.4 billion consumers start spending more and more and more money just look at the statistics in Macau.
In the gambling
sectorMacau is growing 19 to 24 percent a year right now. Every year that’s how much more money is spent on gambling in the casinos in Macau. MeanwhileLas Vegas is falling every year .Macauis a gambling centreis actually six times bigger than Las Vegas. I was in Las Vegas recently and the place is falling apart .Thewhite the Moving escalators in front of five starhotels are broken they weren’t replaced the whole week I was there. I mean the place is really in disrepair and then you’re gonna macauand you see just all the wealth that is pouring in tothat place and then you consider that only four or five percent of Chinese have ever been to Macau and you realize the huge potential.
And that potential I think is a lot like the potential with learning the Chinese language. A lot of Chinese businessmen have been very pragmatic and have gone to great lengths to communicate in English but I think that if their spending power grows as the domestic market grows as their ability to communicate with people in Chinese grows rather than having to always look to the West I think that if you speak the language you’ll have a much bigger leg up on your competition. Off
courseMandarin is spoken in most of mainland. China the second dialect people can understand you in the southern Guangzhou area, Hong Kong, Macau what have you but definitely Chinese is a language that you should look into if you’re looking to be dominant in the new boom markets in the world.
Now those are five languages that I consider you learn at least one of harness the power of emerging markets and new opportunities all around the world and really get in on the ground level really get in as an insider by speaking the language which one you learn depends on a number of factors including where you want to do business where you want to live the cultures what have you but if you disagree with me if you think there’s a language I missed or one that shouldn’t be on this list leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your feedback.