The ability to speak more than your native language is a valuable skill you can possess as a student. It is essential both in the college world and the professional ecosystem; it exposes you to various opportunities. However, there is a need to know the right or, rather, best languages to learn in college before you enroll. For example, the number of people that speak that language – how popular it is, is essential to consider before you start learning it.

The most common languages among students are French, Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Italian, and Latin. Each language has its importance, and your reason for learning it will also factor into your decision. Whatever language you learn will inevitably improve your cognitive function and may even bring many scholarship opportunities. That said, below are the top languages you can set your heart to learn in college apart from English.

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French ranks among the most popularly-spoken languages in the world and is one of the top languages students learn. There is hardly any higher institution that does not offer French classes, especially since over 275 million people speak the language. More so, all five continents have countries where French is an official language, including Canada. Apart from English, French is the only other language used as an official language in major countries.

The ease of learning makes this language even more interesting, especially for an English speaker. French and English have many root words in common, with half of the commonly-used English words tracing their origins back to French. Thus, if you are a native English speaker, you will eventually find French easy to learn, understand, and speak.

Mandarin Chinese

Though not used officially like French, Mandarin Chinese holds the world record for having the highest number of native speakers. More than one billion people speak Mandarin as a native language, which is more than any other language. In the United States alone, almost three million people speak Mandarin, among other Chinese languages. These numbers make Mandarin Chinese one of the most important languages to learn in college.

Although most of the native speakers of Mandarin are from China, this language is still vital to learning. That is because China is emerging as a global power, which is becoming increasingly important to businesses. Knowing how to speak Mandarin will give you a place among the top companies and industries in the world. However, this language is also one of the hardest to learn and uses tonality, which English speakers find difficult to learn.


Spanish should probably be the first language on this list because at least half of college students choose it as their foreign language. After English, Spanish is the most popular language in the US, and it is also pretty easy to learn. Moreover, the fact that Spanish phrases surround many Americans makes the language very easy language to learn. Meanwhile, over five hundred million people globally speak Spanish as their native language. 

Spanish is also easy to learn for French and Italian speakers because of their use as Romance language learners. Most Spanish-speaking countries are two popular travel destinations in South and Central America. If you live and work or hope to work in the United States, Spanish is one of the must-learn languages.


Like French, German and English also have much in common – many Americans can trace their heritage to Germany. More so, linguists often classify English as the German language, which explains its popularity among many native English speakers. Furthermore, more than 121 million people speak German worldwide, out of which one million are in the US. Many benefits come with knowing how to speak German, including potential access to Germany’s large economy.

Aside from the US, German is also very popular throughout Europe; it is a funny language to learn. German is also quite easy to learn, especially because endings are tacked on to German words, giving them specific meanings. Germany is Europe’s most dominant economy, meaning you have numerous career opportunities if you can speak German fluently.


Though not as popular as the first four languages, Arabic is also a profitable language to learn in college. Arabic was once just a nomadic language that moving tribes spoke with one another. Today, it is the Arab league’s official language; the Arab League consists of Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE. The four places are popular travel destinations with a world of opportunities that every student wants to tap into. Moreover, Arabic is the language of the entire Islamic civilization, with nearly two billion Muslims.


Japanese is not that popular outside of Japan, but it is still an important language to learn in college. Fluency in Japanese can take you to places you cannot imagine, whether you intend to travel to Japan or love the culture. Plus, Japanese features some Chinese characters and is similar to Korean; it provides a good background for learning other Asian languages. Also, Japan has a rich economy with many big companies, which means unimaginable career opportunities after college.


Portuguese is another popular language worth learning in college; it is spoken worldwide and across several continents. Portuguese is the official language of many European, African, Asian, and South American countries, but that’s only the icing. Knowing how to speak Portuguese gives you access to the exploding economy in Brazil, one of the world’s economic powerhouses. Furthermore, there is a growing demand for fluent Portuguese speakers as global companies are getting established and tourism is growing in Portugal.


These are our top seven languages to learn in college, especially if you are an English speaker. Learning a new language is essential career-wise and in many other ways. Studies have shown that your cognitive ability improves when you learn a language other than your native language. Moreover, learning a new language offers you more career opportunities than you thought possible.