Should mechanical engineers learn a foreign language?
However, learning any new language improves one's creativity. Japanese or German by choice, in my opinion.
Next in line are - Korean, Chinese and any other European Language.
Most Indians are multi-lingual, they know they mother tongue, Hindi and possibly another one language if most people in their locality speak another language. Top that with English - mandatorily taught to all school kids.
Now comes the foreign language part aka language from another country. First of all, do understand that you'll be able to learn it if you feel 'curious' about it. It's not as easy as walking into a class and leaving with a certificate in 6 months.
Japanese/Chinese/Korean are pictographic languages. I am a learner of Japanese for more than 7-8 years. I know that it's not everyone's cup of tea. German is similar to English (because the script or alphabets are the same). You need to practice more on the phonetics and pronunciation and vocabulary.
First understand what it is that you are aiming for. No point in learning Chinese if you dont dream of going to the East for work or studies or something else.
As a mechanical engineer, as @A.V.Ramani said, you need to be sure about your technical expertise first. Then choose a career line. Align a foreign country that you hope to visit with that career and then go for full-fledged learning of that foreign language. All the best.
Feel free to ask further questions.
Next to English, French is perhaps the most common second language the world over. Way back in 1954, when starting college I had a chance to take French as the second language. Regrettably I had to take Tamil, which I had not formally learnt till then though that was my mother tongue!
It is a language for culture and Science and Technology.
If you need any excuse look here:
Reasons to Study French (Dept of Foreign Languages USA)
Reasons to Study French - Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures - NC State University
Ten Plus Points for French
10 good reasons to learn French
Which is the best foreign language to learn for an engineer? | CrazyEngineers
Since you are into Electrical Engineering, are you thinking of using the French language to make your way to France (in an electrical core company or for post-grad)? If so, needless to say, having a French certification is a definite resume booster. French as such is not known for engineering domain. German is specifically considered by mechanical engineers because of the country's state-of-the-art automobile technologies. I wouldn't stretch it and say that French engineering isn't a thing. The country has built a number of core engineering companies. Read: Category:Engineering companies of France - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
However, if you are learning a foreign language to pursue a career in translation/interpretation, choosing a language that's closest your heart, your interests/hobbies is the best thing to do.
Since I have considerable experience learning a foreign language (Japanese), let me tell you that to be really 'serious' and being fluent in it - you will be studying a language for at least two years. To become fluent, you will have to immerse yourself in the language and begin to think in the language. You will also have to spend many hours listening to that language as it is spoken by others.
^ This requires commitment. A huge group would leave learning Japanese after the first couple of months in the institute I used to go to, because they couldn't get the hang of it and weren't very keen on the language's background, the culture etc.
Having said that, if you are learning it just for fun, a 3-month or 6-month thing that teaches you basic phrases, you can choose French or any other language without a second-thought.
Learning is a great thing. It is really important for all to learn in any age of life and keep on doing. This is how you will achieve a great performance in your career.
Learning a foreign language is important when you are going for countries like germany, italy, france. they have specific language and you need to learn them. As you are looking for job or education, you need to be well versed in it.
So planning for foreign jobs or education then you need to learn otherwise its not mandatory!!