I'm sure this has come up before, but I hope angling it in this specific manner helps justify the new post. I will be starting university this fall, and have decided I want to learn a third language (First being Norwegian, second being English.. Or the other way around. Equally fluent in both, really). In Norway, we have to choose a third language fairly early on. Due to my immaturity at the time, I chose what was called "in-depth English" because I wanted an easy class. Sure enough, all we did was.. browse English websites, something I already spent all my free time doing, so it was quite relaxing. I have regretted that decision ever since, however, and now I really want to learn a third language. I want to learn a language that will benefit me in terms of being able to read foreign research (in the event that it's not written in English) and work at universities abroad. As of now, German seems like a smart choice. I'm already fluent in two Germanic languages, so German probably won't be that hard for me. Furthermore, I think that I as a mathematically inclined person would enjoy the strict grammatical structure of German. Quite frankly, though, it seems dull. German is the most popular choice for Norwegians, and pretty much everyone knows it to some extent here. My heart is elsewhere, unfortunately. I really want to learn an Asian language. Japanese could be interesting to learn, but I'm thinking Mandarin will be a much more important language to know in the future. After all, I'll be around for another 50-60 years, most likely. So, my question is this: Do you think it's a wise career move for someone in physics/mathematics to learn Mandarin? Will Chinese universities be the major players in these fields in the years to come, or am I better served learning a more 'traditional' language like German or French? Feel free to compare Mandarin and Japanese too, if you disagree with my conclusion that Mandarin is the more useful language of the two for a physicist/mathematician to know. PS. To clarify, when I write physicist/mathematician, it is because I have yet to decide which of the two fields to major in. I love both, and it's proving to be quite the impossible decision. But I'll get there.