The Language Advantage

These days, being proficient in a language other than your native language is highly advantageous. You could say that being bilingual (or multilingual) makes you a more marketable and competitive candidate for future jobs. If you put thousands of business executives in a room, you may not find many with the same academic background, work experience or job description. What you’ll discover is that two-thirds of those executives share something in common: they speak two languages. In my internship, I have found being able to speak more than one language (I’m native in Indonesian, fluent in English, and I’m studying French) has been highly useful. Here are some tips to communicate your way to your dream job:

Hello in different languges.

Most universities today require students to become proficient in more than one language. Start taking language classes at your university. There really isn’t any language that you have to be proficient in, I would recommend that it should be a language of your interest because studying a language takes time. In terms of career, it would be useful to learn a language in your country or region of interest. If you are interested in working in France, being proficient in French would make you a better job candidate and bring you more career opportunities.

Make sure you take a language proficiency exam, to prove your proficiency for professional opportunities. Language Testing International is the most frequently used and recognized.

Don’t forget to study culture as well. Learning language is one thing, but it also needs to be used in context. Understanding how the different forms of “you” are used in different situations is important. For example, “you” can be said in two forms in Indonesian, one is formal and used for business purposes, the other informal and used when talking with friends. Showing that you are culturally sensitive through language will definitely be appreciated.

At my internship, I’m helping create an online map of Indonesia’s forests in both English and Indonesian. In that way, the map would be more accessible to the Indonesian government and businesses, helping them make better policy and business decisions that would help protect the environment.

I hope this post has been useful to you. Cheers and sampai nanti (until next time)!

Jessica

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