Professor: The youth should learn German

GERMANY: The career advice that Øivind Anti Nilsen, professor at the Norwegian School of Economics, wants to give the youth is to learn German.

His reason why more should choose German as a foreign language is that the country boosts of money and power. And the fact that Germany will grow in importance.

The Norwegian Ambassador in Germany says he is not surprised that Erna Solberg choose Germany as the first destination as prime minister. The reason is not that she has decided to follow her predecessors, but rather that Germany has developed into the most important European state, and also because Norway is dependent on it. As one of Norway’s most important trade partners, Germany is a vital power. During the last 10 years, the country has bought raw oil and nature gas from Norway for 770 million NOK. More than half comes from gas.

“Spanish and French are fun and useful languages for the holiday, but German is a reasonable investment in the future” stated Øivind Anti Nilsen.

Exports from Norway

Country Exports Jan-Oct 2013
Great Britain  NOK   178.1 bn
Netherlands  NOK   97.3 bn
Germany  NOK   96.5 bn
France  NOK   47.7 bn
Sweden  NOK   44.1 bn

While the exports to Great Britain have fallen by almost 15 percent from the same period last year, the exports from Germany are growing.

These numbers are what trigger the career advice from the professor in economics, Øivind Anti Nilsen, at the Norwegian School of Economics. “Germany is one of our most important trade partners. Our most important export article is oil and gas, and as Germany has committed to closing all nuclear plants by 2020, and therefore this trade will only grow in importance,” says Nilsen.

Photo: Norwegian School of Economics

Øivind Anti Nilsen. Photo: Norwegian School of Economics

But trade is not the only reason why a good relationship with Germany is important. The fact that Germany is a central contact for most European countries, having a good relationship with Germany is a way to affect what is happening in EU and Europe, says Nilsen.

Then language is a key. In spite of the fact that more and more Germans do speak English and most international trade is in English, there is a lot that gets lost when both parties have to speak a foreign language. «Contracts and cooperation consist of more than just the formalities. There is a lot of social contact and trust that must be built, and that is easier if you can speak the language of your partner. At the same time, the language opens the doors to the German community faster than if you use English.» states Nilsen before he continues: «Spanish and French are fun for the holiday, but if you are willing to invest in learning German, that is an investment for the future that is very rational. The cooperation with Germany will not be reduced the years to come.”

Read the whole article in Norwegian here.


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