Picking up a new language is not as easy as it sounds. It requires time, patience and tons of practice. Learning a language is not just about knowing how to read, write and speak. A language at it’s core, represents a unique culture and identity. As we are approaching the tail end of 2019, let us be reminded of the language learning goals you forgot about way back in 2018.
It is all too common for us to form our own prejudice to people who are different from us. We tend to find the way they speak to be “funny” because to us, they speak differently therefore we say they speak with a certain accent. However once we start learning their language, we begin relating to them and in turn, appreciate why they speak in a certain tone and manner. Essentially, learning a new language allows us to associate with people who are different from us and form more positive attitudes towards them.
Being able to communicate in different languages allows us to travel to more destinations around the world and experience different cultures. Remember that time you went to a night market in Bangkok and wanted to ask for a discount but had no idea how to speak a single word of Thai? Or how you got lost and tried to use sign language to get some directions from the locals. Travelling is not just taking some Instagram photos of tourist attractions and then calling it a day. It’s about experiencing the culture and the people who live it.
Navigating in and around a foreign country becomes much easier to accomplish if you can speak their native tongue. In most cases, the locals are always entertained at the prospect of a foreigner speaking their language; even if it’s just a few phrases. For all you know, you may even gain a few new foreign friends. Think about how nice it would be if this were doubled, just by learning another language.
Proficiency in another language also opens us up to new opportunities that may not have been possible before. Now, we are able to communicate with more people and be exposed to job opportunities with specific language requirements. Thus we now have a competitive edge when it comes to our career choices because of our ability to speak a second language (or even a third).
It becomes even more relevant in this current business trend of start-ups. Start-ups are constantly growing and expanding at an exponential rate to survive in a market where barriers to entry are low and competitions are plentiful. This companies are increasingly breaking into new markets. Some of these markets contain potential customers that do not speak your native language and there is a need to engage them in order to convert a sale.
So what are you waiting for? Pick up a new language, make a new foreign friend and increase your value as an employee.