Please do not answer the question "why?" with "because it's necessary". Necessary to whom? For what? Let's figure it out.
For some people it is completely objectively "necessary", even if they do not really want to learn a foreign language. It is often connected with their studies (for example, they need this foreign language to enter a university) or with work (in some foreign companies or companies working with foreign ones, knowledge of a foreign language is not only desirable, but is a necessary requirement for candidates for some jobs). What can you do in this case? First, try not to see this as a tragedy. Learning a foreign language is not the worst thing that can happen in your life, and in the future the language will be of much use if you approach the matter correctly. Secondly, find for yourself an additional motivation. Later in this chapter, I will talk about different reasons for learning a foreign language - maybe you did not even know about or did not think about any of them, and they may well suit you. And in future publications I will also talk about how to constantly motivate yourself in the learning process and how to facilitate the learning process of a foreign language in many ways.
So, let's move on to the reasons. They differ in their strength and in their prevalence, but I decided to include them all to give you a more complete picture, and also, perhaps, to help you get some ideas of your own.
No, I'm not repeating myself. A foreign language can be useful in learning not only as an exam to be passed upon admission to university, or a subject that is just there in the curriculum. A foreign language can be very useful in further training or advanced training. Not all materials, courses and programs, resources may be translated into your native language. After learning a foreign language, you get access to a huge layer of information that was not available to you before. This applies, of course, to a greater degree to English - for example, more than 80% of all information on the Internet is stored in English and 85% of scientific works are published in it today - but this is also true for other languages.
You can learn a foreign language for work not only because the boss told you to. Think about your profession and your possible career prospects. There are many companies where knowledge of a foreign language is desirable or even mandatory for employees. Studying a foreign language, you invest into your future career. In addition, knowledge of a foreign language may be needed not so much for a particular company but for the profession itself. I have many acquaintances working in the IT sphere, and most of them need English, to some extent. So if you also work (or plan to work) in this sphere - it's time to take up English.
For a hobby
In its main point this reason is close to the two previous ones. Having learned a foreign language you will be able to access information related not only to your studies or work, but also to your hobbies. For example, when I first started to take a great interest in photography, I read books and watched video lessons not only in Russian, but also in English. Not because English-language materials were better, but because they represent a slightly different approach, a different point of view on some things. Of course, some things can be found in Russian translation, but not all, besides, some nuances and detailes may be lost in translation (this is even more important for the section "For culture" below).
I work as an English teacher and I often ask my new students why they want to learn this language. Guess which of the reasons appears among the most frequent? I think you guessed it right. Yes, of course, in many situations you can make gestures, poke a finger at something (for example, when choosing a dish in a restaurant menu), use a dictionary, a phrase book or Google Translate. And what if there is no dictionary at hand, gestures do not help, and the dishes in the menu look unrecognizable? Of course, I am exaggerating slightly, but knowledge of a foreign language, even at a basic level, can significantly increase the quality and effectiveness of your communication. The language can be especially useful if you like to visit not only tourist places, but also, for example, various small towns and villages where there are no guides speaking your native language (in many popular tourist places you can find guides speaking various languages at some level) and where, very likely, people do not even speak the "world language" English. Here, again, it is possible to get along by gestures in some cases, but the knowledge of the local language will help you get to know the culture better and feel the local flavor.
If you have friends or relatives from other countries or, perhaps, you are going to seek a husband or wife abroad - in any case, a common language, in the truest sense of the word, will not hurt.
Do you like French cinema, American TV series, Italian cuisine, Spanish literature, Latin music (the list goes on and on)? Perhaps, to learn some aspects of culture, for example, the cuisine of a country, knowledge of the language is not so important. To get to know some other aspects of the culture it can be almost necessary. Think, for example, about literature. I have a small experience in translating fiction, and I know how difficult it is to convey the author's style in another language. After all, there are things - for example, play on words - that almost can not be translated. You can feel all the subtleties, all the nuances of the author's style only in the original, no matter how good the translation is. Reading in the original was one of the main reasons why I began to learn Spanish. If you like foreign films or serials, there is one more nuance added. Some actors just have incredibly beautiful pronunciation, accent, intonations, which are lost even with good voice acting. If you are attracted to more than one aspect, and in general the culture of a particular country - knowledge of the language of this country will significantly expand your opportunities in getting acquainted with this culture.
For living in a country
This point includes the previous three ("For traveling", "For relationships", "For culture") - and even more . For various reasons, people decide to move to another country, and some people sometimes do not even have a choice. In any case, if you are leaving for a country for permanent residence or just for a long period, I think you need to start learning the local language. Of course, in some situations, for example, when you want to buy something or ask for directions, you can explain yourself "using your hands", but if you plan to look for a job in this country or even just lead your personal life, communicate with people, make friends, then you do absolutely need to know the language. However, if you approach this issue correctly, learning the language in the country where it is spoken will be relatively easy and quick.
For your brain
Learning a foreign language does not just give you new opportunities in study, work or travel. Learning a foreign language - and in this case, no matter which one - is in itself useful to your brain. It stimulates mental activity, improves functioning of the brain, memory, modifies or creates new connections between neurons. A foreign language even works as a prevention of brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease - the knowledge of other languages apart from your mother tongue significantly reduces the risk of this disease. It is not necessary to learn a foreign language from childhood - even if you start learning a language in adulthood, it will still have a great positive impact on your mental abilities.
Have you ever heard the opinion that another language is another view of the world, a different view of the surrounding reality? And this is really true. A language to some extent reflects the view of the world of people who speak it, and, by studying a foreign language, one can feel it and even expand ones own mentality. And I do not mean just literary works, which you can read in the original (see point "For culture"). The language itself - its grammar, sentence structure, set expressions and untranslatable idioms - conveys a different view of the world. If you are already studying or have studied a foreign language, then most likely you have encountered expressions that do not exist in your native language and are extremely difficult to translate, but these expressions very subtly and accurately convey some actions or emotions - this is it, the most clear example of another view, if not on the whole world, but on individual things. There is a phrase "I am as many times a person as many languages I know". Some people say it belongs to Chekhov, or to Goethe, some even call it an old English proverb. But it's not about authorship. This phrase, however clumsy it sounds, is very true. Studying a foreign language, you not only train your brain (see point "For the brain"), but also your soul, personality, character. I think if I had not studied languages, I would now be a completely different person, and I do not really want to know what sort of person.
Nowadays I work only with adult students, and many of them have children who study a foreign language at school (not only English). And some of them learn a foreign language together with their children, sometimes even starting at the same time. Someone learn it to help their children with school homework, someone - just to support. Some of my students even do regular language exercises with small children of preschool age - this can be very exciting, both for you and for the child.
On a bet
This is perhaps not the best reason for learning a foreign language, but if, for example, you "have to" learn a language for some reason, and no other motivation is working - then why not. You can challenge yourself, you can involve friends and compete, you can just say publicly (for example, in social networks) that you are going to learn a foreign language and plan to speak it in a year (I will tell you if it is possible in one of my further publications) - often this can motivate additionally a bit. You can even invite friends or relatives not to participate, but to help you in this process - remind, follow your progress, push you gently forward.
It's just a beautiful / interesting language
Yes, this is not the most frequent reason, but sometimes people learn a foreign language simply because it sounds beautiful. Or has an interesting grammatical structure. Especially in the second case, this person is most likely a linguist or a polyglot. I once began to learn Japanese (I plan to continue later) just out of interest, and when I discovered that there were two nominative cases, I was happy as a child who received a gift - and most people I talked to about it though that I was a bit crazy. Most likely, this reason can not be self-sufficient, it alone is unlikely to suffice to steadily motivate you to learn a foreign language, but in combination with other reasons and factors it will only serve as a benefit, because a language that you not only "need" to learn but also like learning is much easier to learn. So it makes sense to think about it and try to love this foreign language.
Most likely, this is not an exhaustive list of reasons, moreover, often people have not one but several reasons for learning a foreign language, so as a result, each person will get their own individual answer to the question "Why do I study a particular foreign language". Let's find yours!
1. Look again at the list of reasons for learning a foreign language. Which of them are close to you? Which aren't? What are your individual reasons for learning a foreign language?
2. Take a piece of paper and write down (if there is no paper and pen at hand - still do it at least in your head): "I want to study ... [language], because ..." and list 2-3 main reasons for studying your chosen foreign language. You can have more, but not less - try to find more than one reason.
Russian version here.