We take a look at some of the reasons why more and more students in the country are pursuing Chinese language courses.
Manju Hara
Assistant Professor, Chinese Centre, JNU

To understand any culture, learning its language is imperative. In an outbound and globalized world, it’s all the more essential to learn one or two foreign languages. However, this is not the only reason why students across the world pursue courses in foreign languages; it has become a hot favourite mainly because it offers interesting job prospects.

In India, courses in Chinese are more sought after as compared to other languages. The reasoning behind this lies in the fact that India and China have been partners in trade and education since ancient ages and presently, the ‘now tense, now friendly’ diplomatic relations between the two countries highlights the need for more language experts.

The Chinese language popularly known as ‘Mandarin’ is a simplified version as compared to the traditional Chinese version, yet it nonetheless retains its position as the toughest language to learn in the world. Chinese language can be learnt not only to master a language and earn a quick buck, but it can also be learnt and further developed for area-study related research.

More and more Indian universities are offering full-time and diploma courses in Chinese these days including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Shanti Niketan, Delhi University, Gujarat Central University, Jharkhand Central University, Pondicherry University, Doon University, Sikkim University, IIT-Madras, among others.

Students with graduate and post-graduate degrees can opt for a variety of vocations. If one is inclined towards teaching, there are ample opportunities at university level as more and more universities are offering Chinese learning courses. There are also good research institutes that offer teaching positions, and a few such positions can also come up in Defence institutes. If being a teacher is not your calling, one can learn Chinese to serve in government and private jobs. Many students find jobs in Chinese or Indian companies based in or out of China. While MNCs hire language professionals every year, there are also ample of research related institutes that need people with linguistic skills; tourism industry lures most men whereas women are more likely to end up in government jobs. Apart from government jobs that are with Ministry of External Affairs, Cabinet Secretariat, NTRO, ARC (all of Central Indian Government) etc, there are many Chinese companies that look for linguists for their offices in India.

India and China have the fastest growing economies in the world and since there’s a dire need for both countries to understand each other and open new avenues for people-to-people contact, the prospects and potential of learning Chinese is immense.

Advantages of Learning Foreign Languages

  • Successful language learning can lead to brain growth.
  • Studies show that learning another language can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Bilingual people show more cognitive flexibility which means they find it easy to multi-task at home and at the workplace.
  • Bilingual people have improved attention skills and have the ability to limit all kinds of distractions.
  • Learning a second language can help improve your first language.


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