Whether you’re still in full-time education or are strolling merrily towards retirement, learning a new language can open up a world of opportunities. You may be looking to go travelling, enhance your career prospects, or relocate to a far-flung destination – whatever your motivation, mastering a new language will prove to be hugely beneficial.
1. Spice up Your CV
Employers are always looking for candidates that are able to bring more skills to the company. If you have mastered Mandarin or are fluent in French, this can help to give your application a push in the right direction. This is particularly true if the role is likely to include foreign travel or the business has clients and suppliers around the world. If nothing else, it will demonstrate that you have an aptitude for learning, as well as the discipline to do so in your own time.
2. Expand Your Horizons
By furthering your skills and knowledge, you will have more opportunities in the future. Even if you don’t have the chance to apply these in a vocational capacity, it’s something that will remain with you to be used when required. As mentioned, holidays and travel are the perfect time to flex your language skills, allowing you to get more out of your time away.
3. Opportunity to Work Overseas
If you currently work, or are looking for opportunities within an industry where global travel is commonplace, mastering one or even a handful of languages can open the door to overseas employment. With companies looking for individuals who can demonstrate communication skills in both English and a range of foreign languages, mastering any native tongue could open doors throughout the world.
4. Add Value to Your Existing Role
Of course, you don’t need to be unemployed to spread your wings for foreign language skills. If your current role could be expanded, or there is a position within your company that would be within reach just by learning French, German, Spanish or Japanese, then why not show initiative and sign up for some training? This may be organised through your business or carried out independently, depending on accessibility. By demonstrating a willingness to expand your skillset, many employers will be convinced to reward you with a new role or expand existing duties.
5. Improve Your Employment Opportunities
If you are stuck in a rut and want to do something completely new or you have been out of work and struggled to find fulfilling employment, then a new language may provide the catalyst for future success. You can work abroad, provide translation services and even negotiate foreign contracts and broker deals overseas. Whatever industry you’re looking to gain employment in, language skills are only ever going to improve your opportunities.
As mentioned, the skills you learn will never be a waste of time. Even if it doesn’t immediately present a new opportunity, there will always be the potential for future employment, travel and even relocation as a result of grasping the vocabulary.
6. Travel with Confidence
Whether for work or pleasure, travelling to a foreign country without speaking the native language can be intimidating. A phrase book will only get you so far, and if you regularly find yourself struggling to communicate with the people around you, it can be both a source of frustration and even concern.
If you’re a regular jet-setter, it may not be feasible to master the language of every destination that you plan to visit. However, there may be some that would prove more beneficial than others. For instance, if you’re looking to travel extensively in South America, then getting to grips with Spanish and possibly Portuguese would ensure that you can communicate confidently. That said, it will take time to get to grips with the dialect, so don’t leave it until the last minute.
7. Open the Door to New Languages
Learning a new language is rarely easy. However, once you have mastered the vocabulary, grammar and nuances of one dialect, it’s often significantly easier to learn another. Part of the initial difficulty relates to the problems of adapting your thought process; and with so many similarities between a number of languages, either in terms of the general construction or wording, one can certainly provide the springboard to another. Equally, it can help improve your confidence to learn other skills and break the mental barrier of further education – particularly for older members of society.
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