Knowing how to speak a foreign language or two is becoming increasingly important and beneficial these days. Whether you want to do some extensive travels, look for new opportunities, meet women from different cultures, or leave the dying West for good, there are many reasons to start picking up a language now. With daily dedication, even if you just manage to squeeze in 30 minutes of study a day, you’ll see results in the future which you’ll be thankful for. If you’re hesitating or think that you don’t have the time, know that they’re just excuses. In few years time, you might regret not starting sooner—I’ve heard the same story from many other people and I myself regret that I didn’t take language learning seriously when I was younger.

Unless there is one culture or country that you are fascinated with or currently live in, you might feel lost as to choosing which language to tackle. Based on my own experience, I think it’s important to pick a language that will come handy and that you’ll stick to for years to come. Picking up a language just because you feel like it would be cool to speak it is not a good reason and you’ll likely end up quitting early on. Without further ado, here are some major languages to consider if you haven’t decided on one yet.

1. Spanish

Difficulty: Easy

If you are fluent in English or other Romance languages, you’ll find many similarities in Spanish to get you going. It is actually one of the more (if not the most) simple European languages.

Practicality: Very High

Of all the languages listed here, you’ll get the highest ROI. Spain and the entire Americas (minus Brazil and few smaller countries) are yours once you know English and Spanish.

Cultural Value: High

Latin American cultures are rich and colorful; there won’t be any regrets.

Business/Political Value: High

Quality of women who speak the language: High

One word: Latinas.

2. Portuguese

Difficulty: Average

Little more difficult than Spanish.

Practicality: Average

Portuguese is affected by diglossia, making Brazilian Portuguese distinguishable from the one spoken in Portugal. Those two are also the only countries that speak the language that are worth visiting.

Cultural Value: Average

Brazil in an amazing place, but it’s only one place.

Business/Political Value: Average

Quality of women who speak the language: High

Two words: Brazilian women

3. French

Difficulty: Average

Relatively easy, but not as easy as Spanish.

Practicality: High

If you live in Canada, you already know how useful it is in helping you get a job (public sector job).

Cultural Value: High

Business/Political Value: High

There’s a reason why French was the original lingua franca. It is still a language that is sought after in many positions.

Quality of women who speak the language: Average

Still better than Anglo women.

4. German

Difficulty: Above Average

Three genders and confusing amount of endings are enough to cause a headache.

Practicality: Low

Most Germans (and other German speaking Europeans) already speak a good deal of English.

Cultural Value: High

If you fancy old European culture, German will appeal to you. Wagner and Nietzsche anyone?

Business/Political Value: High

If you do lot of business in Europe it will come handy.

Quality of women who speak the language: Low to Average

Don’t some say that they’re the ugliest in Europe after English women?

5. Russian

Difficulty: Hard

Cyrillic is only the beginning…

Practicality: Above Average

If you plan on going to Ukraine, Belarus, or Russia for any period of time you should learn the language.

Cultural Value: High

Business/Political Value: High

Will be very useful if you plan on working for certain section of the US government.

Quality of women who speak the language: Very High

Nothing more needs to be said.

6. Arabic

Difficulty: Very Hard

First thing you need to learn about Arabic is that it is not a single language. The Modern Standard Arabic (or simply MSA) is not spoken by the average person and is considered a high language spoken only by diplomats, the media, academics, and officials. The dialects that are spoken in everyday life are divided into regions (sometimes within the same country) and must be learned separately.

Practicality: Low

Unless you plan to live in the Arab world for an extended period of time, your Arabic won’t come handy. Many nations (especially the Gulf states) already speak good enough English.

Cultural Value: Above Average

Arabic will open the door to rich and exotic cultures.

Business/Political Value: High

Same as Russian. Arabic is highly valued in the military and is expected to remain in high demand for the foreseeable future.

Quality of women who speak the language: Depends on the region

Depending on where you go, the women can look anything from this to this.

7. Mandarin

Difficulty: Very Hard

Your biggest obstacles will the tones and the thousands of characters that you have to memorize. But, personally, I think the overall difficulty is highly exaggerated. The grammar is actually very basic and straightforward.

Practicality: Slightly Below Average

In spite of the number of people who speak it, including those who are spread all over the world, the practicality suffers due to regionalism. I know a man who spent more than ten years living in China who couldn’t utilize the standard version he had learned outside the city center he lived in.

Cultural Value: High

China is the oldest living civilization. A Chinese person today can still read Sun Tzu’s original Art of War that was published in 5th century BC.

Business/Political Value: High

China is growing and growing. It will soon be the most important language after English for business and diplomacy if not already.

Quality of women who speak the language: Above Average

Not the most attractive (unless you have a thing for Asian women), but far better for long-term relationship than the average Western women.

8. Korean

Difficulty: Very Hard

The written language is actually one of the easiest in the world (you can learn it in less than an hour), but the grammar will be a pain with all its formalities.

Practicality: Low

You’ll only be able to speak this language with Korean immigrants and half of a peninsula. On the other hand, if you plan to live in Korea (as an English teacher or whatever), you’ll be treated like a rock star in the country.

Cultural Value: Average

Korean culture is rich and exotic, but limited by size. The rising popularity of Korean culture in the region and beyond might change that in the future though.

Business/Political Value: Low

Quality of women who speak the language: Above Average

Somewhat superficial and materialistic (like the Chinese) but overall, traditional and feminine.

9. Japanese

Difficulty: Very Hard

Japanese use a hybrid writing system that incorporate Chinese characters. Think of the whole language as something between Chinese and Korean.

Practicality: Low

Only people who speak Japanese are in the country. Unlike Chinese or Korean, you won’t find as much immigrants to interact with either.

Cultural Value: Above Average

Truth be told, Japan is a declining nation. Unless you’re obsessed with everything Japan and plan to live there for the rest of your life, I don’t see too many reasons to learn Japanese. It still has a great cultural value if you’re looking to immerse yourself to an exotic culture.

Business/Political Value: Somewhat Low

Unless you work in a company that has connections Japan, it’s rather low.

Quality of women who speak the language: Above Average

Nearly identical to Koreans. If you’re white, you have a strong advantage with almost no competition. Their women are not as pretty as people imagine them to be though.

Conclusion

I’m sure I missed few or several languages that would also be useful to learn, but it really all comes down to your personal preference depending on what you’re looking for. Along with game, learning a language is one of the most important thing you can do to improve yourself. The crucial thing to remember is to stick to your studies no matter what and to commit yourself to it. And unless you’re only learning it for academic value, it is essential that you actually go to the country and live in the culture with the people to master the language; no amount of books and courses will replicate real-life interactions.

Start now and don’t regret later.

Read More: The Number One Rule For Learning A Foreign Language