Language opens doors. When we learn other languages we gain the ability to come into contact with other people and cultures, and this can increase our understanding of how people live and think.
Language competence makes it possible to participate in international contexts and contributes to a more balanced picture of international processes and events. In a world with increasing mobility and digital interaction, competence in several languages and intercultural competence are prerequisites for successful communication and participation in many areas.
Learning a foreign language primarily means using the language – reading, listening, speaking and writing – in various contexts. It is also about communication on and insight into the way others live and their views on life, values and cultures, which might lead to greater awareness of one's own culture and to new opportunities for experiences. Experience of and insights into cultural conditions represent a source of personal growth and maturity, and can provide greater opportunities in education, working life and leisure time.
Learning a new foreign language builds on experience from previous language learning both in and outside school. When we are aware of the strategies we use to learn a foreign language, and the strategies that help us understand and be understood, the acquisition of knowledge and skills will be easier and more meaningful. It is also important to establish our own goals for learning, determine how these can be satisfied and assess our own language use. Developing the ability to learn a foreign language may lead to greater insight into our native language, and thus become an important element in individual personal development. Competence in foreign languages shall promote motivation for learning, and insight into several languages and cultures, contribute to multilingual skills and provide an important basis for lifelong learning.
Communicative skills and cultural insight can promote greater interaction, understanding and respect among people with different cultural backgrounds. In this way linguistic and cultural competence contributes to a sound upbringing and fosters democratic commitment and responsible citizenship.
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