Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has spoken about the importance of learning language skills ahead of the European Day of Languages, which encourages more people to learn a foreign tongue both in and out of school.

Arsenal in the Community has long championed language learning through its successful Double Club model – an innovative education and football programme which aims to fuse football and education to form a fun and enjoyable way for young people to engage with their academic studies and football at the same time.

In addition to Arsenal-themed language learning materials for German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, a DVD of one of Arsenal’s players speaking in their native language is provided as an exciting classroom resource.

Spanish midfielder Arteta, who speaks a total of seven languages (Spanish, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan and Basque) believes that learning a foreign language can not only help to improve social skills but also provide a boost to potential career prospects, saying:

“When you are able to speak different languages and travel as we do around the world, I think it gives you many more chances, you can get to know people much quicker”.

“If you don’t learn the language [in a new country] you’re always on the back foot because you can’t really understand things, you feel isolated and you feel like you live in a different world. So when all that comes together and you’re able to speak to people, get to know each other and the culture, it’s much easier.

If I had this chance when I was young, and I had a club supporting me to learn a language, I think I would have learned much quicker than I did because you have that incentive. It’s about having that target – that ambition – to reach where you want to reach. If you have that, in life, you can always do it.”

As with the literacy modules, Double Club Languages also incorporates a practical football session, with a focus on using key vocabulary in the target language during sessions to allow pupils to reinforce their classroom learning.

Since its launch, Double Club Languages has won a host of prestigious awards – most recently, the 2012 Threlford Memorial Cup that was awarded by the Chartered Institute of Linguists for ‘fostering the study of languages’.

Such is the pioneering nature of the programme, more than 10,000 pupils from over 300 primary and secondary schools from right across the UK have taken part since its inception.

For more information about the programme, please visit www.arsenaldoubleclub.co.uk or contact languages@arsenal.co.uk.

If your school is based in the boroughs of Islington, Hackney or Camden, please contact Steve Eadon directly at seadon@arsenal.co.uk to learn more about added benefits available to local schools.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 27 Sep 2013