If you’ve decided to learn a new language, the first step is to decide which one you will study. The answer may be easy if you’ve had a favorite or if you need to learn a new language for your career. Otherwise, you may want to consider the following tips. Make It Easy Most experts would not recommend starting off with a difficult language like Mandarin where even the letters are different from English. Instead, start off with a language that is similar to English or one that has some of the same words. For instance, Spanish is commonly taught in schools because it is relatively easy to learn. French is also a common option because many of the words have similar derivatives to English words. Know Your Goals When selecting a language to learn, consider the reasons why. Are you planning to visit a certain country or region? Perhaps you want to enhance your career options, so you would consider which languages are most relevant to the industry. If your reason is to improve your mind or to add a second language to your skill set, you have more flexibility. But you also want to consider how you will use the language in the future so that you don’t forget what you learn. Consider Your Hometown Think about where you live. In large cities like Montreal, you will find several different languages spoken. However, in smaller towns, you may only hear French outside of your native English. When you’re trying to choose a new language to learn, think about the opportunities you will have to practice in your home city. Even if you aren’t required to learn a new language for your job, you will increase your value if you select one that is relevant to where you live. For example, if you have a small French-speaking community in your city, you will be better able to serve them as your customers or clients if you can speak their tongue. Ask Your Friends Talk to people you know, and tell them about your plans to learn a new language. Get their input if they have taken a language learning class. They can tell you which aspects were difficult and what made it fun. This will help you decide if it is an option for you. They can also tell you if they have had opportunity to continue using their new skill so you don’t waste your time or money. Try It Out If you’re still not sure which language you want to learn, look online and find texts written in a different language. Listen to people speak in a foreign tongue. While you may not understand a word that’s spoken or read, you can get an idea of whether you are interested in learning it or not. Study a few words to see how easy they are to learn. You’re going to invest a lot of time and money into learning a new language. You should take the time to make sure it’s one you will enjoy studying and one you will use in the future.