Have you ever dream of being bilingual, of being able to switch effortlessly between languages? As companies become increasingly international, the ability to speak another language has become essential for career growth. Being multilingual will give you a competitive edge when seeking new opportunities and maximising your career development, and I am sure that many people would agree with this statement.
“But…” I hear you say, as you list 10 reasons why you can’t learn another language. Especially as we get older, many people think they’ve missed their chance to become bilingual, as if that window of language absorption comes and goes before wev’ve even reached our teens.
It doesn’t have to be this way, it is indeed possible to speak another language almost immediately, you just have to use the right language learning method. But more on that next time. Today let’s look at the reasons why we should all be learning a new language.
- Give your career a boost
Companies are increasingly global in their outlook, with clients all around the world, so it makes sense that being able to communicate in more than one language will boost your chances for career growth. According to The Economist there is a 2% salary premium for bilingual employees. On top of that, it is not enough to only speak one language, with so many companies doing business worldwide, being monlingual puts you at a disadvantage. Don’t be at a disadvantage…gain the upper hand by being bilingual.
- Bilingualism delays the onset of Dementia by up to 5 years
Studies have shown that learning another language or being bilingual delays the onset of three different types of Dementia, including Alzeimers. Scientists believe this is due in part to ‘switiching between’ two different languages and therefore constantly ‘training’ your brain. Language learning is much more useful than routine ‘brain training’ and can open up a range of new possibilities in your social and professional scope.
- Deeply understand another culture through the language.
“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” ‒Rita Mae Brown
It is impossible to truly understand a culture without knowing the language of it. We can only naviagte the nuiances of family, community and professional life in another culture through first speaking the language. Perhaps being immersed in another culture is for personal reasons, or it could be that you are relocating with your company. Whatever the reason, language skills are the key to understanding culture.
- Be on the ‘inside’ of jokes
Pretending to laugh at a joke in another language, but you really don’t get what’s so funny? It’s lonely being on the outside of a joke, but with language training you will be able to appreciate humour in your target language. And humour builds friendships and relationships. It’s both important for professional and social situations, so speak another language and find the funny side.
- Build life-long friendships and meet new people
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” ‒Nelson Mandela
Building new relationships is easier if you can communicate with confidence in someone’s mother tongue. No more awkward silences as you search for the rigth word to express how you feel. Be comfortable with your lamguage skills and you will find that relationships, albeit if they are personal or professional will blossom.