Researcher coming from abroad faces many challenges at the university. One of the issues concerns understanding the language(s) used in society. There are different justifications for learning (or not) the language. Some people are trying to integrate through language learning and progress fast. Others realize that although they invest a lot of efforts in learning, their language skills are never enough to maintain complex professional conversations, which are essential for a full integration. As a result, it might feel that hard work does not pay off. Yet many others are trying to keep up with a competitive academic environment, and as they have a lot of work, and their possibilities to dedicate time to the language are limited.
Different positions on language use
Roughly simplifying, there are two types of arguments concerning languages in the academia. One of them is stressing the need for more English due to increasing internationalization. Another approach is increasingly concerned with the status of national languages, their diminishing use in some areas of the academic practice. These approaches clarify use of languages in a different way: while English is advocated through the instrumental approach to language (stressing the improved communication opportunities, the need to accommodate foreign scholars and students), discussion about maintenance of national languages is based on symbolic approach, importance of language for culture and societal outreach.
Languages in the Academia: arguments about power, value and practices
Debates about language(s) in Finland need a deeper, more considered perspective