We live in a hyper connected world, where interaction with citizens of other countries is fast becoming the norm.
With the prospect of important information becoming lost in translation, there is an ever expanding demand for employees with at least a bilingual proficiency.
So, it is never too late to start learning a new language as it opens up a host of new opportunities.
Giving a boost to your CV – listing proficiency in a second language will send you to the top of the stack when it comes to companies who want to hire employees who can communicate with people in other cultures with ease. Your job opportunities go from national to global.
Makes you smarter – According to studies, learning a new language gives your brain a total workout, leaving your grey cells rippling.
Cross cultural friendships – It is easier to initiate and maintain long distance relationships with friends in distant lands if you are fluent in their language. Language acts as a doorway to culture.
The best part is, learning a new language is almost entirely dependent on self motivation.
You get to choose which language you want proficiency, keeping in mind your end goal, be it education, travel, teaching, or simply as a hobby.
You can learn a new language at any age, and from any location. The internet offers nearly unlimited venues for self taught students.
This is not including the traditional options like attending night classes, completing a distance level course or hiring a tutor.
If you are interested in travelling the world while still earning a living, learning a new language can help you.
English remains the most popular language worldwide, and attracts the largest number of new learners. Fortunately, resources to learn English are also most readily available.
There are options such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) which certifies you to teach English. You can then select the country of your choice and begin teaching.
Working for the government – Most governments require employees posted abroad to have a broad understanding of local language and customs. Additionally, embassies and consulates tend to hire freelance language experts who help decode the local customs and help to avoid cultural misunderstandings and promote respect and goodwill.
Working for intelligence agencies – Always been inspired by James Bond? Intelligence agencies are always on the lookout for employees who can cultivate assets on the ground in foreign countries, who can interact with locals and gather crucial information.
Working as an interpreter – Your proficiency can get you hired as a personal interpreter for highly placed individuals, like businessmen and politicians. This would involve a lot of travel and exposure.
Working as a freelance translator – You can work for a translation agency or provide services as a freelancer depending on your convenience.
Working for global bodies – The United Nations, The EU, and most multinationals prefer employees who have at least bilingual proficiency.
The internet – As a beginner, the most prolific source of learning is undoubtedly the internet. Most online learning websites, such as Coursera, Unacademy, Khan Academy, MIT open courseware offer language courses and provide certification on completion of the same.
Youtube – Youtube has thousands of videos uploaded by tutors who help students understand the intricacies of the language, tips and tricks for memory etc.
Most European embassies have a language and cultural exchange centre, which provide resources for students learning their native language. For example – Alliance Francaise.
Over To You
Learning a language from scratch might look insurmountable, but it is a worthwhile pursuit, and opens avenues for you whether for your career or to expand your life’s outlook.