One of the least appealing traits of the globalisation of English is the flawed belief that we no longer need to learn local languages in order to communicate with other nations. This is an incredibly dangerous and short-term approach which denies one simple but unquestionable fact: the more we learn about languages, the better equipped we are to communicate. This isn’t just an argument about brain power but about the emotional investment we make by putting ourselves in the position of being children, receiving basic input on communication in order that we can survive in an unknown tongue. The empathy with other cultures that this experience brings is an incredibly valuable and transferable skill. It’s the sort of insight that people end up paying thousands of pounds to international communications consultants to obtain. But in fact it can be acquired by taking a short walk in someone else’s shoes for a couple of hours a week.