Be inspired by the experiences of the learners below and motivated by their language learning tips.
    I think it all depends on what you want to get out of it. You need to sit down and consider your own goals and if you come out with the resolution that you want to start a coffee shop in Finland then you should put your efforts into Finnish instead of what you feel you should learn because it's popular. When you have a goal for your language learning that's personal to you, it will keep you motivated to keep progressing and is incredibly rewarding… Language learning is a very sociable act. I've discovered that you learn best not by burying your nose in books but by diving in and chatting with locals. This method of learning is fun and opens your eyes to the world and I have gained good friends that I talk to regularly that I would never have had the pleasure of meeting without studying French! (Andrew Muir)
    I am based at ESA's control centre, in Darmstadt, Germany. I learnt French at school. I learnt German in several evening classes when we moved to Germany 25 years ago… You never know when you might need to be able to speak another language. I would never have predicted that I would end up living in Germany… Learning another language enables you to have a more meaningful relationship with other people. It also opens up opportunities that might otherwise be closed to you. It also gives you a sense of achievement – whenever I succeed in dealing, in German, with some aspect of German bureaucracy, I get a buzz! (Adam Williams)
    Chinese is the first language I have really studied. I only started learning Chinese a year ago, so I am far from fluent… My aim is to be able to carry out interviews for my research without the help of a translator. I’m a long way off, but my work would benefit considerably if I could achieve this… Always carry a pocket dictionary and don’t be scared to try out the few words you know. I started with learning to speak a few words and wrote down the Pinyin (the Latin form of the Chinese characters). Now I have moved onto learning the characters and I’m using a spaced-repetition software. I’ve just bought some calligraphy brushes so I can practice writing at home. (Sophie Williams)
    Besides English, I have a passable grasp of French, which gets me by on short breaks but wouldn't win me many arguments! I also have a fair knowledge of Spanish and I know bits and bobs of Italian and German gathered during my travels. French began in secondary school and most of the basics have stayed with me, though I regret not pursuing it further at Higher level. This has been complemented by travels in France and in conversation with French friends. My Spanish began during an extended trip to the North of Spain more than a decade ago and again was consolidated by travels and friendships. I enjoyed Spanish as a language and really engaged with the culture so chose to continue studying it in my private time via audio lessons on my iPod. (Chris Cusack)