If someone asks you to list the most multicultural cities in the world, the first name that will surely come to mind is New York. Described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, New York is the most populous city in the United States, with around 8.8 million residents according to the 2020 census.
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Home to people from all over the world, this city has been a major port of entry for immigrants into the United States with more than 12 million European immigrants received at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. Nowadays, Approximately 37% of the city's population is foreign-born, so it should come as no surprise that more than 800 different languages can be heard in New York. This is especially true if you are in Queens, one of the five New York boroughs, which was named “the capital of linguistic diversity of the world”. There, you’ll find a dense progression of languages that include: Filipino, Urdu, Greek, Russian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Indonesian, and others that are not as well-known as Waray-Waray, Minangkabau, Bukharian, and Chavacano.
As you can imagine, if you live surrounded by such diverse communities, speaking more than one language is almost a necessity. Fortunately, the city’s one of the best places in the world to learn languages, with a multitude of options.
Where to study foreign languages in New York
Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York has sometimes been called the capital of the world, and as such, it boasts some of the finest universities and learning institutions where you can study languages. New York University, for example, has a Department of Languages where you can find more than 50 different course options in languages like Akkadian, Swahili, and Hungarian and get a certification.
If enrolling in a University course is not what you’re looking for, there are other great places you can consider. One of them is The New York Public Library, somewhere most language learners only dream of setting foot in. Known as the second-largest library in the country and the fourth-largest in the world, it has over 50 million books and features many resources to learn languages. In any of the 92 locations of the library, you can access Mango Languages, an interactive database that provides lesson plans for 71 languages including Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese, and many more.
Language exchange groups in New York
If you’re looking to test your knowledge while building new friendships, then you should check out one of the many New York City free language exchange groups. Language Exchange NYC is the largest community of language enthusiasts in the city, and, according to them, the friendliest. Some of the group’s almost twenty thousand members get together twice a month in different local bars to share and learn about each other’s culture. If you want to either learn or teach Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Russian, or German, this group is perfect for you.
Cultural institutions and events in New York
New York is brimming with life. As a newcomer, you might find it hard to adapt to its fast pace at first, but once you do, you’ll find there’s something to do in the city for everyone. If you are particularly interested in other cultures, you’ll be happy to learn that depending on the time of the year, you can enjoy amazing parades and festivals. One of the most famous ones is The Lunar New Year Parade & Festival, which takes place in Manhattan’s Chinatown during the month of February, and features elaborate floats, marching bands, martial artists, musicians, magicians, acrobats, and dazzling dragon troupes that wend their way through New York streets.
New York is full of magic all year round. If you happen to visit the city in spring, you can’t miss the Cherry Blossom Festival, in Brooklyn Botanic Garden, located at 990 Washington Ave, where you’ll not only get to see the beautiful Cherry Blossom trees, but also celebrate Japanese culture as you enjoy J-pop concerts, traditional Japanese music and dance, taiko drumming, martial arts, bonsai-pruning workshops, tea ceremonies, and manga art
Language jobs in New York
If you want to advance your career in New York, being proficient in a second or even third language is one of the best ideas to stand out in any career. As you might know, New York is the leading job hub for finance, banking, and communications in the U.S. Most of the job positions in these areas like Financial Analyst, Investment Banking Associate, or Strategic Communications Officer require that you are fluent in at least two languages.
Among some of the best-paid positions in finance in New York are those on Wall Street. If it’s always been your dream to work there, then learning Chinese, Japanese, or German is probably the best career move you can make to get closer to making it happen.
What’s more, several of the world's largest corporations, like IBM, Pepsi Co, and Citigroup have their headquarters in Manhattan. Many others, like the Bank of China, are of foreign origin or intend to expand abroad, which means they are constantly looking for bilingual applicants that help them build successful business relationships throughout the world.
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After reading about all the benefits of learning a language in New York, you know there’s only one thing you can do, and that is to get started! There is no time to waste! Here at Listen & Learn, we offer the best tailormade courses that will take your communication skills to the next level.
Make the first step to becoming multilingual today by taking one of our free level tests. We’ll assess your current language ability to pair you up with a tutor who will design a tailor-made program based on your interests and goals! Just send us a quick inquiry and one of our team members will contact you within 24 hours to answer all your questions!
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