When people find out I learn Mandarin, their first question is usually “why?”. Why learn a language that’s known for being difficult, rather than learning, let’s say, Italian, which is much more similar to my mother tongue?

Although part of it is the fact I’m always up for a challenge, there are many more advantages to learning a “difficult language” (which is subjective, by the way). 

In this post, I put together some reasons why you should learn a language outside of your comfort zone, some of which are reasons for me to learn Mandarin Chinese. 

  1. What is the hardest language to learn for foreigners?

When you google this question, most of the time you will find one of two: Mandarin Chinese, or Arabic. Of course, this is extremely subjective and eurocentric. For me, a Portuguese and French native, those languages might be extremely difficult to learn, that’s true. But Arabic will be significantly easier for me to learn than for an English or Dutch native, for example. Similarly, a Japanese native who already knows kanji won’t have as much trouble learning Mandarin as a European will. So keep that in mind!

  1. Why learn a difficult language? 

  1. Get out of your comfort zone

Learning a new language is much more than just communicating. It’s about challenging yourself. And how challenging is it to learn a language that’s similar to your own when you can learn one that’s completely different? 

    1. It’s even more rewarding.

When something is difficult, and you struggle to accomplish it but eventually do, it’s even more rewarding. When you finally understand a grammar structure, or a sentence pattern, that’s completely different from what you know, you can be even prouder. 

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    1. Enrich your cultural knowledge

Gain deep insights into the culture, history, and traditions of the native speakers, which are probably completely different from yours. Develop a deeper appreciation for art, literature, music, and cuisine of a culture whose history you know very little about. 

    1. Be the cool person at the party

All jokes aside, when you know Mandarin, Arabic, or Russian people will admire you. You will instantly become the cool person at any junction and everyone will have questions. 

    1. Communication and Work Opportunities:

Learning a language that’s widely spoken but few people learn is an immense advantage at work and while travelling. You get to access vast communities of speakers and open doors to career opportunities in international business, diplomacy, translation, and academia.

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    1. Cognitive Benefits

Have you ever learned that the more languages you know the easier it is to learn new ones? That’s because it’s true. If you learn Russian, for example, learning other Slavic languages will be a piece of cake. If you learn Spanish, suddenly you understand Portuguese, Catalan and Italian without much effort. The more language families you are familiar with, the easier it will be for you to develop those cognitive abilities and learn even more! Plus it’s great for problem-solving, multitasking and memory!

    1. Travel and Tourism

This is the obvious one. This is the opportunity for you to stop being that annoying tourist who only knows their language while in a foreign country. Plus, you will experience a country in a whole other way if you can communicate with locals and learn from them. It’s an amazing way to enhance your travel experiences in non-English speaking regions. 


Learning a difficult language can be demanding, but the benefits often far outweigh the challenges. It not only equips you with a valuable skill but also enriches your life in numerous ways, from personal growth to enhanced career opportunities and cultural appreciation.

These are only some of the reasons why you should learn a less common language. Comment which ones are yours below. 

 You might like:

How To Learn Multiple Languages at Once and Become a Polyglot
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How To Start Learning a Language NOW


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