Today, we’re excited to introduce Amy, our new sales and marketing assistant. Amy’s going to be with us for the next twelve months while on her placement year from university, and she’s written today’s blog post, about why learning a language is one of the most important things you can do.
When you ask people if they can speak another language or if they would like to learn one, the response is often, ‘Why? What’s the point, everyone speaks English?’ Here at EuroTalk we want to change this perception and to show you why learning a language can be rewarding, enlightening and open up so many more opportunities.
Yes, it may be easier when visiting another country to assume they will speak English, and very often they do in the main cities and tourist areas, but what if you want to explore off the beaten track and find the soul of a country? Do you want to feel apprehensive, excluded and unable to participate, or do you want to be able to jump in with both feet, get to know local people, their customs and truly the best places to visit and eat, not just the latest Top 10! Without the ability to speak the language it is difficult to get to the heart of a country and to appreciate its people or culture in any depth, you can end up merely skimming a clichéd surface.
If you know the language, you will enjoy meeting people rather than feeling awkward and are likely to make some good friends as well, an even greater benefit if travelling alone. In life, isn’t it as much about the people you meet and the experiences you share, as where you were at the time?
Maybe you’re worried that learning a language is a bit boring? Not any more. With our app, uTalk, you learn in a fun and exciting way, no more sitting at a desk for hours at a time, dreading being asked to read out loud! No time? You can learn on your commute, whilst standing in a queue for your lunch or simply sitting on your sofa at home. Learning a language has never been easier and more accessible. No matter where your next adventure may be, make the most of it by learning the language. Remember, you never look back and regret the things you did do, just the things you didn’t. So what are you waiting for?
Sarah works as a Multilingual Search Manager at Search Laboratory, and she’s taken time out to tell us why and how learning a language has helped her develop her career.
Q. Your experience of learning a language…
– When did you start?
I started learning another language at the age of seven, when my family moved to Germany. I often say that I learnt the language by watching TV, but it was actually a combination of listening (which did involve TV), reading (mainly as schoolwork gave me no choice – I wasn’t the bookworm then that I am today), and being thrown in the deep end. If there’s no other communication option around you, you will pick up a language. It just might take some time.
– How did you get into languages?
I got into it through video tapes for children designed to help learn a second language, and then through tuition and being surrounded by the language in everyday life. For the first six months of living in Germany I went to an English school, but then transferred to a German one, so speaking the language was a must for grades, making friends, and just generally communicating.
– What was hard?
The first few months were pretty tricky. I’m known as a bit of a chatter-box (this is likely to come across in my answers), so not being able to communicate was tough, but also an incentive to just try the language and learn by doing. The best way to learn a language is to speak it. It’s also the scariest thing about learning a language.
These days the main challenge is remembering the right word for the right language. With two languages buzzing in my head, I can often recall the perfect word for what I want to say, but in the wrong language for the situation.
Q. How you have found being multilingual useful when searching for employment and building a career?
Being multilingual has been very useful for my career, as it’s given me more options, and I think it’s also helped me stand out a bit in the employment crowd. This was especially true when I was younger, and just starting out. Though multilingual isn’t as unusual as you think these days.
It was also a way for me to narrow down my career search. I knew that I wanted to be part of a company that provided opportunities for multilingual speakers, and was equally interested in different cultures and understanding different markets.
Q. How do you use languages in your everyday role as a Multilingual Search Marketing Manager?
I manage our French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Chinese team, so the language alone doesn’t help out; however, the language experience is vital. I feel that because I went through learning a language and living in a different country that I’m more empathetic to and understanding of the struggles of day to day life (or at least some of them – the team may disagree).
I also think that the language experience has made me very inquisitive about other cultures, and languages, which really comes in handy when looking into the differences of search behaviour and trends in other markets.
Q. Why do you think more people should learn more languages?
Because it’s great fun! And because it can open up career opportunities that you hadn’t even thought of yet.
I sometimes forget that I’m classed as multilingual as having more than one language is natural to me, to my family, and most of the people I work with. I think I’d be pretty bored if I only had one language to rely on.
Also, looking back and seeing all the opportunities I might have missed out on, is a bit of a scary thought.
I’m excited to learn more languages, though can’t decide of the languages which my team speaks, which one to start with. There’s just too much choice!
Do you use languages at work? Have you found knowing more than one language has helped you in your career?