Thinking about your education and what the most important skills are is a big part of determining the direction of your future. As a business student, the path is wide open for you to choose how to apply those skills. If you have given any thought to pursuing a career in international business you know that speaking another language is a crucial part to success in this field. Those interested in following this path also know, the more languages you speak, the better.
Understanding your Surroundings
Speaking another language not only allows you to participate in conversation and find your way around town but it can also give you a different perspective. When you understand the translation of things it allows you to process concepts in a different way. You will most likely be able to develop a better understanding of how things operate. Once you begin seeing things from a local perspective you are then able to navigate cultural tradition which in turn can open up social opportunities that may allow you to network more and even enjoy your business.
The Competitive Edge
Learning one or more languages gives you a big advantage over others applying for the same jobs or trying to win over the same clients. As soon as a potential employer sees that you are multilingual, you are automatically more marketable to them and their client base. It has also been shown that employees who speak more than one language make 5-20% more for jobs where there is a pay differential for bilingualism. In addition, if you are interested in going after your own clients or starting your own business, being multilingual greatly increases the size of your target market.
When working in an international climate there will, most likely, always be languages you are unable to understand. In these cases, you can rely on a translator of some kind to help you communicate. However, when you speak to another person in their language, there is a level of respect that cannot be matched despite how clear and accurate your translator is. Things like tone of voice, or small nuances can be lost when not communicating one on one.
Improved Brain Function
You may already know that learning a second language improves brain function, as all learning does. The brain is a muscle that grows stronger with use. However, some of the specific increased abilities when it comes to learning another language are multitasking, problem-solving and decision-making. These cognitive functions are essential in the business world and are seen as some of the indispensable characteristics of a successful individual. It has been shown that those who speak another language have a faster ability to process information and tend to be more rational.
Where to Start
If you think this is the direction you are headed, I would recommend beginning to learning a new language as soon as possible. There are many resources, like Rosetta Stone, to start you on this exciting new path. The best way to learn is to combine several different methods of reading, writing and speaking the language. However, the number one piece of advice is to practice every day.