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Let's talk foreign languages: Here's why millennials are looking beyond French and Spanish

The young people are all about learning Arabic, Portugese and Russian. Here's why

Nanda Das @nanda1das 16 July 2018, 5:33 PM
It's time to look beyond French

It's time to look beyond French Image: THINKSTOCK

Call it globalisation or call it multiculturalism, learning a foreign language is only going to help you right now. But you must pick wisely.

As appealing as French, German or Spanish may sound in your favourite films, should you really be going for them? Why not look at some unconventional options? 

Millennials have shifted their focus to languages such as Russian, Portuguese and Arab.  They feel non-traditional languages give them an extra edge professionally and also amp up their resumes.

T2 Online has spoken to a few students and found out how opting for a non-traditional language as a degree/certificate course is helping them in their way ahead, and where one can enrol to learn it. 


Ranabir Bhattacharya loves learning new languages. After completing degrees in Spanish and Portuguese, Ranabir's newfound interest is Arabic. As only a handful of colleges/universities in India have an Arabic course, he is taking tuitions to learn it.

Why did he opt for it?

I am a journalist, and I know there is a huge scope for me if I learn the language well. In the near future, the oil crisis is going to get worse and I will be able to report the issue brilliantly if I know the language.

Where can one learn Arabic?

I am taking tuitions as Arabic is not taught in all the universities. People often confuse it with Urdu. One needs to learn Arabic from a Persian point of view. Arabic, Persian and Urdu are quite similar and even have the same alphabets. Some major Arabic institutes in India would be New Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and Hyderabad's Osmania University. 


Since 2000, there has been a boom in outsourced jobs and BPO openings. After clearing his 10+2 exam, Sanjeet Tanti decided to opt for a Portuguese course along with regular BCom.

Why did he opt for it? 

I learnt Portuguese just for better job prospects. I even got a job in Oracle because I knew Portuguese.

Where can one learn Portugese? 

Portuguese is the world's sixth most natively spoken language, and it has many learning centres in Delhi, Kolkata and Goa. In Delhi, Portuguese is taught at the University of Delhi (Arts Faculty),  Jawaharlal Nehru University (Centre of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Latin American Studies – CSPILAS), Jamia Millia Islamia (Centre for European and Latin American Studies – CELAS) and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Jawaharlal Nehru Academy of Languages). Goa University also has a Portuguese course, and in Kolkata, the School of Languages offers many courses. 


Russian language, literature and culture have been studied thoroughly and systematically in India, and the opening of the Russian Culture Centre (Kolkata) has only helped. 

Delhi-based Sumeet Malik loves to learn languages and Russian is one of the first foreign languages he learnt. He became quite fluent in the language, thanks to online classes.

Why did he opt for it?

I learnt the language as I wanted to set up a garment business in Russia.

Where can one learn Russian?

Besides the Russian embassy, Russian is being taught at over 40 universities over India, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia University and educational institutions of local importance such as the universities of Pune, Mumbai, Chennai. There are also learning centres in smaller cities such as Kolhapur (Maharashtra), Vadodara (Gujarat) and Reba (Uttar Pradesh). 

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