EU Languagepages

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Language Learning

Adult learners

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Languages can be an enjoyable and lifelong pursuit. Language learning offers a range of benefits, from personal development, to improving the experience of travel, to opening up new career opportunities.

Many people express interest in continued language learning but do not turn it into practice. This website provides more information on how to become one of the growing number of adult learners who take the small step to get started or refresh their existing skills.


Language learning benefits

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Personal benefits

Language skills enhance the experience of travelling abroad. Even limited knowledge of a foreign language can help the traveller to better understand local cultures and interact with local people, making foreign travel more enjoyable and rewarding.

Learning foreign languages can also increase understanding of one’s own language and expand one’s intellectual horizons through the introduction of new concepts not present in one’s native tongue.

Furthermore, learning a language is in itself good “brain exercise”. It stimulates the mind and has been shown to improve memory and cognitive skills.

Professional benefits

In today’s globalised world, greater international co-operation has increased the need for international communication and thus the demand for competent foreign language speakers.

Languages have become either a requirement for job-seekers, or offer a significant competitive advantage in fields as diverse as government, commerce and the media. The number of jobs in language-based sectors, such as teaching, interpreting and translating, has increased as knowledge of languages has grown in importance.

Language competence allows better communication at home with diverse language groups that live together in modern multicultural societies, and provides for greater geographical mobility and increased possibilities to take up employment opportunities abroad.


The Grundtvig programme

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One of the ways in which the EU supports adult language learning is through the Grundtvig programme.

Grundtvig aims to improve the quality and availability of adult non-vocational education in Europe by supporting the following types of activities:

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  1. transnational co-operation projects
  2. learning partnerships
  3. mobility of educational staff
  4. networks

The programme is open to all types of organisation providing adults with formal or non-formal learning opportunities at whatever stage of their lives.