As young people around the UK anxiously learn how they did in their GCSEs today (August 22nd), Language Insight considers why language really is a subject worth choosing for further study. While it can be daunting considering what career path to take when you’re only 16, being able to speak another language opens up a wealth of possibilities to you.

An obvious career path is to work as a translator or interpreter. Both of these jobs are exciting and worthwhile, and you can count on no one day being the same as the next. As an interpreter, you could work for an organisation like the United Nations or European Union, or you could work for one person; travelling with them to interpret. Alternatively, you could work in the public sector in courts or hospitals. As a translator, the world is your oyster and you can specialise in everything from book to computer game translation. However, carving out a career as a full-time linguist is not the only option available to you if you study languages.

The world has never felt smaller. Thanks to more economical and efficient travel, people now have the option of working almost anywhere they want in the world – or certainly travelling anywhere to do business. However, you won’t get much work done if you arrive in your destination and aren’t able to communicate with the people you meet. English is one of the main business languages, but to rely on this fact completely means missing out on opportunities. Being able to speak the same language as your potential investors, clients or customers gives you an additional insight into their culture and thinking, which could give you the edge over competitors.

Businesses understand this, which is why employers are increasingly on the lookout for job applicants who speak another language. Having this skill can really make a job hunter stand head and shoulders above their peers – and in an increasingly crowded jobs market, this is an advantage that should not be underestimated.

As someone who speaks a different language, you could embark on any career path you want and use your language abilities to help you get ahead. You might have an interest in fashion, and can use your language skills to talk with suppliers, buyers and manufacturers overseas. Alternatively, you might dream of being g a journalist, in which case you can use your second language to get more information from the people you meet without having to rely on an interpreter.

Yet there are plenty more reasons to study languages than just to further your career. It is also a tremendously useful skill to have if you plan to go travelling, and means it’s far simpler to get around, ask for directions, read menus and buy souvenirs. Being able to communicate with locals in their mother tongue can give you the inside track on the best places to go and things to do, which might not be in the English-language brochures. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know the people you meet and their culture and customs better. Finally, being able to speak the language of the country you are visiting is certainly useful if something goes wrong and you need to fix it.

The list of advantages to being able to speak another language does not end there though. Scientific studies suggest that learning and communicating in another language is actually good for your brain! It can help improve your memory and also gives your brain capacity a boost.

Being able to speak a language is a skill that, once learnt, you will have forever. How you use it is up to you!

We spoke to some of the Language Insight team about why they decided to study languages. We hope their quotes will inspire you to do the same.

Gabby (speaks English, Spanish and Polish): “Knowing a foreign language (or a few) makes your life easier! Of course it may enhance your career, but it also brings lots of pleasure. It is important to remember how much you can learn about a culture simply by getting to know a particular language.”

Toni (speaks Italian, Spanish and English): “Languages express the culture and customs of the country, which is why by learning a language you can understand why people behave in a certain way.”

Magdalena (Polish, German, Swahili and English): “I started learning languages because I have always been interested in differences between cultures. A language is a part of it.”

Matt (speaks Polish, English and German): “I knew I would combine languages with my career in the future.”