Need a career lift? Learn a foreign language!

Did you ever want to learn a foreign language? Start now. Your career will be better for it. And we are not just referring to English. Only around 20% of the world understands it.

Dr. Dan Davidson, President of the American Councils on International Education, says, “when it comes to selling a product abroad, you have to understand the psychology, and the beliefs of your client… you have to understand the value systems of the foreign public that you are speaking to. And their local language is a gateway to that.”

Here’s how you can get that extra edge by learning another language:

  • Participate in the global economy. Businesses today have a canvas that’s larger than ever before – global target audiences, clients across the seas, and presence in international markets. A 2013 British Chambers of Commerce study found that more than 60% of companies who want to do business in other countries, are unable to do so due to language barriers. Thus, to thrive, they need employees who speak the language of the locals, and are well-assimilated into the local culture.

If you know the foreign language an organization desires, you will have an edge over monolingual applicants competing for the same jobs.

  • Get better salaries. Employees that speak more than one language, often gain higher salaries. Euro London, a recruitment agency, states, “Knowing a foreign language can add between 10% and 15% to your wage.”

Infact, some social researchers claim that foreign language speakers get better bonuses as well. Though the jury might still be out on this one, a Freakonomics podcast suggests that English-speaking Americans who learn a foreign language, can expect to earn about $600 more than someone who knows only English. Intrigued, The Economist conducted surveys, and concluded that competence in Spanish at workplaces will ensure a 1.5% bonus, while French and German will ensure 2.3% and 3.8% bonuses respectively!

  • Keep your cognitive and life skills sharp. Your gains aren’t limited to better cross-cultural communication. Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain is more attentive, has better task-switching abilities, and higher conflict resolution skills, than the monolingual brain. It gets better – bilinguals are proven to have greater empathy and tolerance for differences, because they can focus more on others, or the external environment, as opposed to their own feelings. Now, we all want this mix of skills!

The evidence is compelling, that the effort is worthwhile. Each language brings you access to a whole new world. Let’s get started then. Buena Suerte!

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