Please also have a look at the section on "Why learn languages?": Career opportunities for valuable information.


Reasons for studying French include:

  • French is a global language
  • French is an official language in 33 countries
  • French is the native language of 130 million people across 5 continents
  • French as a foreign language is the second most frequently taught language in the world after English


  • You've probably spent many years studying Irish at school already, so why not finish the job in GMIT?
  • The focus here is very much on the practical, interactive use of the language.
  • Irish, an ancestral language going back at least 2,000 years and an official language of both this state and of the European Union, opens the door to many well-paid careers both in Ireland and abroad.
  • Well educated people with a high level of competence in Irish are in constant demand in the education sector, in the media, in the translation business and in the public service.


Marcela Nievas

These pages are dedicated to our late colleague and fellow Hispanist Marcela Nievas

Some facts about Spanish:

  • It is a world language
  • With some 400 million speakers, it's the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world (after English, Chinese and Hindustani)
  • According to some estimates it has more native speakers than English.
  • It is the second most spoken language in the United States, spoken by almost 30 million people (or 13% of the population) in 2005.
  • In Puerto Rico, both Spanish and English have the status of official languages, and in New Mexico laws are published in both languages.
  • It is also one of the most popular second or third language in Europe.

The numbers alone make Spanish a good choice for those wanting to learn a new language.


Ten reasons to learn German:

German is the most widely spoken language in Europe.
It is spoken by 100 million native speakers.
Germany has the 3rd strongest economy and is the #1 export nation in the world.
Two-thirds of the world's leading international trade fairs take place in Germany. These include CeBIT, the world's largest trade fair for information and communications technology, and the IFA consumer electronics trade fair.
Knowing German creates business opportunities.
Germany's economic strength equals business opportunities. Multinational business opportunities exist throughout the European Union and in the Eastern European countries, where German is the second most spoken language after Russian. Companies like BMW, Daimler, Siemens, Lufthansa, SAP, Bosch, Infineon, BASF, and many others need international partners.
Germans are innovators.
From Gutenberg's printing press to Hertz' discovery of electromagnetic waves, from Ehrlich's development of chemotherapy to Einstein's theory of relativity, to Brandenburg's creation of the MP3 digital music format, throughout history Germans have proven themselves time and again to be great innovators. That trend continues today. Four of the world's 10 most innovative companies are located in Germany.
German is an important language in tourism.
Many Germans, Swiss and Austrians enjoy a high standard of living and like to travel abroad for their holidays.
The German presence on the Internet supersedes most others.
Considering what great innovators the Germans are, it's not at all surprising that they maintain a dominant Internet presence. With 8 million Internet domains, Germany's top-level country domain .de is second only to the extension .com.
German-speaking countries have a rich cultural heritage.
The brothers Grimm, Goethe, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, and Hermann Hesse are just a few authors whose names and works are well-known internationally. The world of classical music is inseparable from the names of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Strauss, and Wagner.
From the magnificent architecture of medieval buildings to the avant garde Bauhaus movement, from Dürer's woodcuts to the expressionist masterpieces of Nolde, Kirchner, and Kokoschka, Germans have made substantial contributions to world art and architecture.
German is not as hard as you think.
As English is a Germanic language, English speakers have an advantage when it comes to learning German.. If you understand any of this ...
Meine Schwester hat braunes Haar. Sie ist intelligent. Sie studiert Medizin in Berlin. Sie kann gut singen.
... then you already know some German!
In addition, German is spelled phonetically. Once you learn the system of sounds, it is easy to predict how the spoken word is written and how the written word is pronounced.
Germany is a great place to visit.
Go to Berlin, Munich, Vienna, visit the Black Forest, Lake Constance, the Alps or the Rhine and have fun.

Reasons for learning German

1.  German is the most widely spoken language in Europe

German is the most widely spoken language in Europe with 100 million native speakers.  About 20 % of the 455 million European citizens are native speakers of German. It is the second most popular language to learn in the EU and ranks among the top 10 most frequently spoken languages in the world. It plays an important role as a foreign language in many countries, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. Almost 20 million people learn German as an additional language worldwide.

2. After English German is the most commonly used language on the Internet

Knowledge of German will allow students access to a large volume of information and documentation on the Internet which is not available in English, in areas such as environmental science, for example.  A command of the German language and culture is a passport to mobility and employment at home and abroad.  

3.  German is not more difficult to learn than other languages

All language learning is an incremental process, just like first language learning.  It requires guidance, repetition, attention to detail and practice.  German is not more difficult to master than other languages; in fact, one can learn the basics without meeting any of the famous grammar complexities.  English is a Germanic language also, so there are many similarities with English. German is easy to pronounce as there are no silent syllables and few sounds that are not familiar to English speakers. German is a fun language to learn and it has a rich and varied culture.  There is a wealth of online, print and audio materials and superb interactive videos and DVDs to support the English-speaking learner.  An ERASMUS stay in Germany or Austria in your second or third year will enhance your German and intercultural knowledge.

4.  Germany is the largest economy in Europe

Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the third largest in the world and it is the largest exporter and importer in the world.  German, Austrian and Swiss products from companies such as Siemens, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Miele, Nestle, Mannesmann, Thyssen-Krupp, Volkswagen, Victorinox etc. are bought all over the world for their high quality and prestigious brands.  Germany is the major trade fair centre in the world and attracts exhibitors from every continent.  A good knowledge of German is likely to make you highly employable.

5.  Germany is a very important cultural, economic and diplomatic partner for Ireland

In terms of trade and cultural and diplomatic relations, Germany plays an extremely important role for Ireland, and it is important for reciprocity that Irish people speak German just as well as many Germans speak English.

Over the past 20 years Germany continually ranked in the top 4 export markets for Ireland, often in the top 3.  It is consistently the third most important country for imports to Ireland.  

Germany and Ireland have traditionally enjoyed excellent cultural, literary and diplomatic relations.  The traditions of music, literature, film and journalism in Germany and Ireland are mutually attractive.  Ireland has been a favourite holiday destination for German tourists since the late 1950s, when Heinrich Böll’s “Irisches Tagebuch” (An Irish Journal) was published to great acclaim.  Recent tourism figures from Germany to Ireland indicate that they have increased by 50% over the past five years to 500 000 per year, despite bad press regarding high prices in Ireland during the boom period.  (O’Mahony, N. & O’Reilly, C. (2009) Societies in Transition:  Ireland, Germany and Irish-German Relations in Business and Society since 1989. Baden-Baden: Nomos.)

6.  Knowledge of German gives learners access to the great traditions of literature, music, film, art and philosophy in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Literature and film are the windows to the soul of a nation and are best appreciated in their originals.  Even the best translations are only very useful approximations of the original works.   Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, Theodore Fontane and Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht and Max Frisch, Franz Kafka and Peter Handke, Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass are only some of the great names of writers in the German language worthy of close study for a broad liberal education.   Students of music and art can access a greater amount of scholarship in their areas if they have a good knowledge of German.

7.  There is a shortage of German speakers in Europe with English as their native language

The ITIA (Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association) has highlighted the shortfall of translators into English in the EU translation service.  Many export oriented companies in Ireland, England and Germany employ graduates with proficiency in English and German.  Google, SAP and many other companies cannot fill positions for native speakers of English with German skills because there are insufficient graduates with German in their degree.

8.  Germany, Austria and Switzerland are beautiful travel and study destinations

The beauty of the Black Forest, the Alps, Bavaria, Thuringia, the Rhineland and many other places in Germany is legendary.  A visit to a German-speaking country is much more enjoyable and enriching when one can communicate in German.  The great cities of Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Vienna and Zurich are best appreciated when one can read and interact in German.  A period of study at an ERASMUS partner college in Germany or Austria is indispensible if you wish to perfect your knowledge of German and enhance your intercultural skills.

Assembled by Rosanna Molloy, WIT, 2010.  Work in Progress.

CILT - There are hundreds of languages spoken around the world, and an increasing number of languages available to study in the UK. Each one can be useful in its own way, so it’s up to you to decide why you want to study a language in the first place, and think about which one would be most beneficial.

EUROPASS - create your own language passport online: