'If you need something, you’ll learn pretty quickly how to ask for it.' Photo by Alexa Clark on Flickr/CC.

'If you need something, you’ll learn pretty quickly how to ask for it.' Photo by Alexa Clark on Flickr/CC.

'If you need something, you’ll learn pretty quickly how to ask for it.' Photo by Alexa Clark on Flickr/CC.

Is living in a foreign country the best way to learn another language? Hannah Pearson, who's working as an English language assistant in Mexico, shares her advice on immersing yourself in the language of the locals.

'Students have a greater awareness of the importance of education and have a firm belief that hard work translates into success.' Photo by Ol.v!er [H2vPk] on Flickr under Creative Commons.

'Students have a greater awareness of the importance of education and have a firm belief that hard work translates into success.' Photo by Ol.v!er [H2vPk] on Flickr under Creative Commons.

'Students have a greater awareness of the importance of education and have a firm belief that hard work translates into success.' Photo by Ol.v!er [H2vPk] on Flickr under Creative Commons.

Is China so different from the west? Emma Wind, an English language assistant based in Tianjin, argues that despite the forces of globalisation, the world's most populous country remains culturally distinct. 

'Where Dylan Thomas felt he could improve the English language, he did so…and our beautiful language is the richer for it.' Photo by Reena Mahtani on Flickr/CC.

'Where Dylan Thomas felt he could improve the English language, he did so…and our beautiful language is the richer for it.' Photo by Reena Mahtani on Flickr/CC.

'Where Dylan Thomas felt he could improve the English language, he did so…and our beautiful language is the richer for it.' Photo by Reena Mahtani on Flickr/CC.

Actor and artistic director Guy Masterson says the famous Welsh poet didn't so much defy the rules of grammar as stretch them. Guy will be presenting at the next British Council seminar, live-streamed from London on 23 October 2014 as part of the Dylan Thomas Centenary Celebration.

'Films and TV shows are an integral part of students’ lives so it makes perfect sense to bring them into the language classroom.' Photo by Lubs Mary on Flickr/CC

'Films and TV shows are an integral part of students’ lives so it makes perfect sense to bring them into the language classroom.' Photo by Lubs Mary on Flickr/CC

'Films and TV shows are an integral part of students’ lives so it makes perfect sense to bring them into the language classroom.' Photo by Lubs Mary on Flickr/CC

What can film and video add to the learning experience? Kieran Donaghy, who won the British Council's Teaching English blog award for his post I want to learn English because..., explains why film is such a good resource, and recommends some useful websites.

'Many traditions associated with Chinese New Year are derived from puns on Mandarin words.' Photo by Alias 0591 under Creative Commons licence.

'Many traditions associated with Chinese New Year are derived from puns on Mandarin words.' Photo by Alias 0591 under Creative Commons licence.

'Many traditions associated with Chinese New Year are derived from puns on Mandarin words.' Photo by Alias 0591 under Creative Commons licence.

The final post in our weekly series on the ten most important languages for the UK’s future, as identified by the British Council’s Languages for the Future report, is about Mandarin Chinese. Here, the British Council's Asmaa Ibrahim explains the characters, tonal differences, and sound similarities that make the language so fascinating.