There are so many reasons to learn foreign languages, and it is important to make sure that students maximise opportunities now and in the future by studying foreign languages.
Learning a foreign language can transform any career, and it will lead to amazing adventures along the way. Lanuage skills are particularly invaluable in the Tourism and Hospitality sector where the ability to speak the language of those visiting your country will be deemed an asset by any potential employer.
Specialising in foreign languages can lead to a career traveling the globe as an interpreter, diplomat or foreign correspondent, giving a front-row seat to watch history unfold.
However, almost any career – from finance, to beauty therapy, to engineering – can be transformed by studying a foreign language. Even a basic understanding of a language can open the door to rapid promotions and prestigious foreign assignments.
Foreign-language skills will be key to the success of many Irish businesses in the coming years as non-English speaking countries take a bigger and bigger slice of the global economy and Ireland becomes more diverse. Even when they are speaking English, foreign-language speakers can boost a company’s performance. Language learners tend to be better listeners, better able to juggle competing priorities and are more sensitive to diversity, studies have shown. This means that there are certain good employment prospects for anyone who can work in a foreign language, even if they are not fully fluent.
A diversity of languages and cultures in a school or workplace brings a diversity of ways of looking at the world. Such diversity can reduce group-think and improve creativity in solving complex problems. With a window on other cultures, languages make people more open-minded.
Languages and the ability to adapt practices based upon a customer’s or business’ cultural background are set to become increasingly desirable skills as diversification of exports to other markets may be required to combat negative effects from Brexit, according to the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report, 2018.
Many companies are aware that employing someone with language and cultural knowledge of a potential market can start a conversation of an expansion that might not have otherwise been contemplated. Even a little knowledge of a client’s language - and a little knowledge of their culture - can be the difference between success and failure in an increasingly diverse world. This points to the importance of learning and maintaining foreign language skills to ensure greater opportunity and choice when entering the workforce.
www.languagesconnect.ie is a useful source of information, inspiration and assistance to students, parents, teachers, guidance counsellors, school leaders, employers, and all who are seeking to learn or improve their foreign language skills.
Explore Languages Connect profile to watch a series of videos looking at the wide range of careers that have been enhanced by foreign language skills.