The writer knows the benefits of learning a new language first-hand. Being bilingual helped her land a job as a foreign correspondent and set up a content marketing business.
I believe in the importance of learning a foreign language — it opened a new world to me, propelled my career as a foreign correspondent and helped me set up a business as a content marketing strategist.
I guess I’m lucky that I was raised in a bilingual environment — in the Philippines, we have to learn both our native language (Tagalog) and a foreign language (English) as early as primary school. I also have a knack for languages, and I feel quite comfortable speaking and writing in English even though my parents hardly speak it at home.
There are many great things that come from learning a foreign language. Here are four ways that studying a new language can benefit you professionally and personally:
1. Make yourself more employable
If you’re reading Brazen Careerist, I assume you have the ambition and drive to get ahead and excel at work. That will only happen if you know how to navigate a changing workplace.
In a globalized world where companies cater to an international market, companies increasingly prefer to hire employees with language skills. A 2010 survey of U.K. companies, which showed that companies ranked fluency in a second language as second only to information technology when it comes to finding the right candidate. In addition, the average salary of language graduates three years after finishing their degrees was higher than engineering, math, physics and chemistry grads.
2. Position yourself to get an awesome job abroad
Or better yet, being proficient in another language will help you follow your dream of being a location independent professional. The Internet has given everyone the option to ditch the cubicle farm to live and work anywhere. But most of the world doesn’t speak English, and if you want to communicate and survive in another country, you better learn the native language. These days, there also might be . Knowledge of local languages will only help secure those positions.
3. Enrich your travel experiences
Understanding other languages will help you get more from your backpacking journeys than cheesy photos or tales of how you blew your money on booze. When you study a new language, you are able to immerse yourself in another culture in a new way. You get to know more about the people you’re dealing with and you have more appreciation for the country you’re visiting.
4. Enhance your liberal arts degree
Perhaps you’d have a clearer path to employment if you got an engineering or business degree. But if you’re the type of person who prefers to engage in a philosophical debate rather than puzzle through a math problem, that’s easier said than done. Rather than forcing yourself down a path that doesn’t align with your interests, use your creativity and analytical skills to learn a new language that will give you a marketable skill. Summer is a great time to start a language. You can enroll in a language school this summer or you could hire a tutor, enroll in online language courses or go to a language school on weekends.
Prime Sarmiento writes about learning and career tools for . An award-winning business journalist, Prime is helping globally-focused entrepreneurs to communicate with their clients. You can get in touch with her via