A few weeks ago, I was involved in writing a case study which forms part of a booklet for the MEITS project addressing some big issues in language learning. The theme that I was responsible for was ‘why do people learn languages?’. This is a question often asked by the general public and in policy making; it is also a very difficult one as the motivations for language learning are many, and very complex. I was hoping to find some straightforward answers in our research, but was struggling to distil a common message across the project, as our strands do not seem to directly address the question of motivation but tend to focus on a related issue on ‘the benefits of language learning’. As the title of the MEITS project indicates, the key message is that Multilingualism can Empower Individuals and Transform Societies and there are multiple benefits of language learning, be they social, cultural, cognitive, educational, economic or even health-related.