Top 10 Best Foreign Languages to Learn for Students

Top 10 Best Foreign Languages to Learn for Students

11 mins read6.5K Views Comment
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on May 20, 2024 10:44 IST

Learning foreign languages is an asset in this century because there are multiple advantages. Are you interested in learning a new language before you study abroad? Here’s an article compiling the top 10 best foreign languages to learn for Indian students. So check it out and get on to learning a new language. 

foreign languages

The best foreign language to learn are some of the most widely spoken languages in the world. To get a job abroad, it is essential to learn a foreign language. The best foreign language to learn for jobs can vary based on the student’s choice of country abroad. Learning a new language is an exhilarating experience, thus, students should consider learning a foreign language.

Why Learn Foreign Language for Indian Students? 

There are numerous reasons why students should consider learning a foreign language before studying abroad. These reasons are as follows:

  • Learning a new language broadens points of view and gives a certain perspective to students because brain power increases.
  • Cognition improves once students learn a foreign language. This in turn helps students in honing their problem-solving skills
  • It allows students to experience new cultures and traditions associated with that language. 
  • Foreign language skills enable easier mobility, travel and communication in foreign countries.
  • Many top universities and colleges give a benefit to students who possess foreign language proficiency.
  • Learning a foreign language provides a competitive advantage over monolingual candidates in the job market.
  • Foreign languages open up opportunities for students to study or work abroad. The best foreign language for jobs abroad are - French, Arabic, German, Spanish, English and others.

Apart from these, students can learn foreign languages based on 

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Top 10 Best Foreign Languages to Learn in 2024

The top 10 best foreign languages to learn should be sorted based on difficulty, total speakers and where the languages are taught. Best foreign language to learn in India are as follows:

  1. Mandarin
  2. Spanish
  3. Portuguese
  4. Japanese
  5. Russian
  6. Arabic
  7. French
  8. German
  9. Korean
  10. Italian

These languages are the most widely spoken ones in the world. Students can learn them based on their difficulty level set by FSI which categories these languages. Students can opt to learn any of these foreign languages based on their interests and the countries where they are spoken. To understand the culture of the country better, students can begin by learning the official language of the country they wish to study in. 

Best Foreign Languages to Learn in India

Do you want to learn foreign language and broaden your horizons? You can take up any foreign language given below and start learning. Check out the foreign languages and their details below, please note the average time of learning is based on the FSI - Difficult Languages List.

1. Mandarin


A Sino-Tibetan foreign language, Mandarin is the most widely spoken form of Chinese in China and the world based on Britannica. Mandarin is the second most spoken language in the world with 1.140 billion native speakers. It is China and Taiwan’s official language and one of Singapore’s too. Mandarin is a tonal language. There are four major tones and one neutral tone or the fifth tone. Mandarin is one of the hardest languages to learn Since China is a rapidly growing country for business, technology and innovation, students can learn Mandarin to join its workforce after graduating from Chinese universities

Average Time to Learn Mandarin: 88 weeks 

Top Universities to Learn Mandarin: 52 Indian universities offer Mandarin courses to students. Some of them are as follows:

2. Spanish 


Spanish is the second most popular and widely spoken foreign language globally. With 486 million native speakers and 559 million speakers worldwide, Spanish should be on your list of foreign language learning. Spoken across 21 major countries in America and Europe, Spanish speakers' worldview expands with its reach globally. Spanish language learning can benefit students who wish to settle in Spanish-speaking countries. Or also for those who have a love for the language and culture. Spanish is one of the easiest foreign languages to learn globally based on FSI - Difficult Languages. Thus, it's an added advantage for English speakers who want to study in Spain

Average Time to Learn Spanish: 24 weeks

Top Universities to Learn Spanish: Top Indian Universities for Spanish are as follows:

Check out: List of 100+ Spanish Words for Students 

3. Portuguese


Another Indo-European Romance language on the list is Portuguese. With 236 million native speakers and 250 million speakers globally, Portuguese is also one of the easiest foreign languages to learn for Indian students based on FSI - Difficult Languages. Portuguese is widely spoken in Brazil and Portugal, but differently as they vary. One variant is, the Brazilian Portuguese and the other is Portugal’s Portuguese. Portuguese is a close cousin of Spanish, evolving from the same language family. 

Average Time to Learn Portuguese: 24 weeks

Top Universities to Learn Portuguese: Only JNU offers a certificate degree program for Portuguese. 

4. Japanese 


Japanese is the official language of Japan and is the only Asian language which has no specific language origins. A native language of over 120 million, Japanese involves three writing systems: Hiragana (basic sounds), Katakana (foreign words), and Kanji (adopted Chinese characters). International students who want to study in Japan can begin learning Hiragana so that they understand basic Japanese words. Initially learning Japanese can be tricky but it’ll get easier eventually. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy and those who wish to be a part of it must learn the Japanese language. 

Average Time to Learn Japanese: 88 weeks

Top Universities to Learn Japanese: Some of the popular Japanese colleges in India include:

5. Russian


Russian is the world’s 8th most spoken foreign language as per Forbes. At present, there are 116.83 million native speakers and overall there are 265 million Russian speakers in the world. Russian is not just the official language of Russia but also of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Russia is also the world’s second-biggest economy, thus students who wish to take up a job in Russia after they graduate from Russian universities can learn the language. Russian is one of the toughest languages in the world for Indian students, including English speakers. Since Russian is one of the official languages of the United Nations (UN) among five others, Indian students should try learning it. 

Average Time to Learn Russian: 44 weeks

Top Universities to Learn Russian: Students can learn Russian across these universities in India:

  • Delhi University
  • Jamia Milia Islamia
  • JNU
  • School of Foreign Languages, Russian Language

6. Arabic


Arabic is a Semitic language and traces its roots back to 1500. Written and read from right to left, is what makes Arabic unique. With more than 300 million Arabic speakers globally, Arabic is the language of the Middle East. The holy Quran is written in classical Arabic and was also used for poetry in ancient times. Arabic is the official language of 22 countries and is also one of the six official languages of the UN. Learning Arabic can open doors for a student in literature, poetry and business. With a turnover of USD 3.4 trillion the countries in the Arab hold a significant position. Those who enjoy reading literature and poetry or even couplets, can learn Arabic. Also, students who wish to work in any of the 22 Arabic countries must learn the language. 

Average Time to Learn Arabic: 88 weeks

Top Universities to Learn Arabic: Some of the popular universities to learn Arabic are as follows:

  • Jamia Milia Islamia
  • Delhi University
  • JNU

7. French


Spoken by over 200 million people in the world, the Romance language French is the most popular one. French is the official language of around 24 countries in Europe and North America. Learning French is easy for Indian students, but French word pronunciation can be tricky sometimes. Proficiency in French opens doors to international business opportunities, particularly in Europe, Africa, and Canada. Industries like luxury goods, diplomacy, and tourism highly value French speakers. Thus, being literate in French can be an added advantage for students.

Average Time to Learn French: 24 weeks

Top Universities to Learn French: Some of the popular Indian colleges offering French courses are as follows:

  • Delhi University
  • JNU
  • Calcutta University
  • BHU

You can begin learning French words with the help of this guide - 150+ Basic French Words for Students

8. German


German is the next language that students must learn on the list. Spoken by 100 million people globally, German is also one of the Romance languages. One of the difficult languages of the Romance language family is German. Students interested in studying in Germany should learn German before they study at German universities. Students can find their dream jobs with German proficiency in engineering, science, finance, and international relations, particularly within German and European companies.

Average Time to Learn German: 30 weeks

Top Universities to Learn German: The following are some of the top Indian colleges for German:

Apart from these universities, German language courses are also offered at Max Mueller Bhavan in different Indian states.

Check: German Words for Your German Studies

9. Korean


Are you interested in K-Dramas and want to watch them in Korean? Then you should learn the Korean language. Students who wish to study in South Korea and also want to settle there should consider learning the Korean language. Learning Korean will allow students to engage with this vibrant culture, understanding the song lyrics, plotlines of dramas, and humour without relying on translations. Korean proficiency also stands tall from a business perspective. It is doing very well in technology, manufacturing, and e-commerce. So students who want to be a part of any of these industries can go ahead and learn Korean. 

Average Time to Learn Korean: 88 weeks

Top Universities to Learn Korean: Some of the institutions which offer courses in Korean language for students are as follows: 

  • Korean Cultural Center
  • (DU) Colleges (SGTB Khalsa College, St. Stephen's College, Daulat Ram College, Shyam Lal, Ramjas College)
  • The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU)
  • Korean Language Institute, Pune
  • Chennai Korean Language Institute

10. Italian


Italian is one of the easiest languages to learn in the world. Students who are interested in studying brands, business and management can study in Italy. Though universities in Italy offer courses in English, but some universities also offer additional courses for students to learn Italian. Learning Italian words can be challenging initially but as and when the student will progress they will get the hang of it. Students interested in luxury, branding, fashion and even automobile industries can learn Italian and be a part of the companies headquartered in Italy. 

Average Time to Learn Italian: 24 weeks

Top Universities to Learn Italian: Some of the popular universities in India to learn Italian are:

  • Delhi University
  • JNU

Check out: 100+ Basic Italian Words for Students

How to Say Hello in Foreign Languages?

Now that you have understood why learning a foreign language is essential based on the country of study. You can check how to say hello in foreign language of your choice from the table below: 

Foreign Language

How to say hello in foreign language?




Salut (hello)


Guten Tag (Good Day)



Mandarin Chinese

你好 (Nǐ hǎo)


こんにちは (Kon'nichiwa)




مرحب (mrhban)




привет (privet)

You can build on your word power as you cross the learning stage of a given language. But you can always start by learning how to say hello in foreign language or even bye and a few more words commonly used.  

Resources to Learn Foreign Languages

Besides universities, students can consider other resources to learn foreign languages. While there is a lot of content available to learn a foreign language, students can still check out the following resources to rely upon:

  • YouTube
  • Language Learning Classes (online or offline)
  • Language Apps - Memrise, Babbel, Preply
  • Language-based Cultural Immersion: Use of apps like Tandem for exchange between students with native speakers of the language
  • Books: The easiest way is to grab a book and begin a foreign language learning journey. 

There may be other resources to learn foreign languages for students. So students can choose them based on their convenience. 

Combining learning a foreign language with cultural immersion can be a beneficial factor for students going to study abroad. Students can opt to learn foreign languages based on FSI -  Difficult Languages. They categorised languages based on the average time to learn a language. However, time devoted to learning a language can vary from student to student. Ultimately, students should choose a foreign language that can help them grow, if not academically then professionally. 

If you enjoy learning new things and exploring something new, then you should add learning a foreign language to your bucket list too! Students who learn new languages can benefit in numerous ways and strengthen one’s CVs. So identify which foreign language can be beneficial in the long run for your skill building and also for your career abroad.

About the Author
Written by
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

Aishwarya is a professional Writer currently working as a Study Abroad Expert in the Editorial Team at Shiksha. She has over 5 years of experience and is skilled at creating Online Content with leveraged knowledge i... Read Full Bio

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