In an increasingly globalized society, banking on just one language is no longer enough. Consider that out of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) list of the 10 biggest economies in the world, only three are native English-speaking countries. Because of this more professionals are seeing learning a language as a must-have skill. This is because this skillset will make them highly valuable employees for international companies and will help further their careers.
Why Language Can Further Your Career
Language Advances Cognitive Abilities
There is some credence to the belief that people who speak more than one language are smart. The Dana Foundation has said that the brain receives increased stimulation when speaking another language, thereby increasing creativity, comprehension, and processing. As a professional, this will aid you in approaching tasks more efficiently and effectively. Research from the Université de Montréal has even indicated that bilingual people can better sieve through distractions in order to focus on finishing a task. Further studies by York University scientists state that bilingual speakers have a better attention span. Such is the power of language on our cognitive abilities that top neurologists have said speaking another language can even delay dementia.
Knowing Another Language Makes Your Resume Stand Out
With one in four U.S. employers stating that they’ve lost business opportunities over a lack of linguistic skills, there has been an added push for companies to hire bi- or multi-lingual employees. After all, having a workforce capable of speaking to people from various ethnicities is not only respectful of diversity—but also a lot more profitable. New American Economy (NAE) data has shown that since 2017, the demand for bilingual workers continues to rise, with most openings categorized as “high prestige” jobs. Of course, with demand comes the willingness to pay more. Therefore it’s not surprising that multilingual employees usually merit a higher salary. For instance, professionals who speak Spanish and English can earn up to 30% more.
You Can Become a Better Communicator
A recent survey by Cengage states that among the top criteria for employers were soft skills such as listening, attention to detail, and effective communication. Speaking another language has been directly linked to improvements in the aforementioned skills, plus more. A study from the Northwestern University revealed that those who speak more than one language interpret their surroundings differently. This is crucial in business now more than ever due to how connected the world is. And a key trend now being taught at universities across the country is the importance of being able to communicate across borders. Maryville University’s communication degree puts an emphasis on how graduates must be able to communicate in social, professional, and global applications. And those who speak another language, as well as learning how to communicate professionally, will be highly sought after for their skillset as a top communicator.
How You Can Improve Your Own Linguistic Capabilities
Online Degrees and E-Learning Programs
Technology and the internet are your friend as most working adults are too busy to attend physical classes. There are a multitude of e-learning resources that you can enroll in, and these programs are much more flexible as they allow you to complete your coursework remotely. With this, you can also expect a spike in online language learning centers, so do your research and make sure you’re learning from a certified instructor—even better if they’re a native speaker, like our Spanish teachers!
Try Immersing in the Culture
Language is a direct reflection of a culture. At the Harvard Kennedy School, students are encouraged to take cross-cultural classes and visit museums. The professors here believe that by helping students understand and appreciate the background of a language, it is easier to relate to it rather than just memorize it. If you’re not so much the bookish type, you could still do this through music and movies. For instance, in UCLA the fastest-growing language is Korean, thanks to the meteoric rise of K-pop.
Whether you practice alone, with native speakers, or with other students, you need to practice. Instead of treating it like homework, think of it as you just chatting with some pals. Even if you just set aside a few minutes a day to do this, your brain will better recall new information is done regularly. Think of it like muscle memory.
Although English still remains the lingua franca, learning to speak another language (or two!) will undeniably put you a step above in your personal and professional lives.
Written by Asha Rachel Cranston (Exclusive for spanishtomove.com)