In the world we live in, it’s increasingly more valuable to be as internationally minded as you possibly can.
And no, we don’t mean that you should be mixing up your weekly tikka masala order, and would be better off getting the occasional Chinese or Italian takeaway instead.
Being internationally minded - where you’re open to different cultural behaviours and attitudes, and can embrace new ideas from beyond your bubble - is a crucial and invaluable attribute.
Because let’s face it, like Jack Johnson said, it’s so much better when we’re together (we may be showing our millennial age there).
Not mentioning that it makes you a far more interesting person — being aware of and open to the world around you is a key trait that employers look for.
Especially the huge multinational organisations with offices and branches all over the world (which you might be expected to travel to, or discuss important things with via conference calls).
You might be surprised to hear it, but English isn’t the most spoken language in the world. The top is actually Mandarin, with 1.1bn speakers globally.
Do you speak more than one language? Maybe you’re studying one now, or you’ve picked another language up from bilingual parents. That’s is an incredible skill (job-specific and transferable), and it’ll put you ahead in the rat race. You should be shouting about it (in your second language of course!).
Back in 2014, a study from Cardiff business school found that a lack of foreign language skills and cultural awareness was costing the UK economy nearly £50bn a year.
Quite a lot of dollar, right? Languages and multicultural relationships really are worth it.
You might be considering a vocational career like engineering, medicine, teaching, and think that you won’t need language skills for those. And don’t get us wrong, you might not. But never underestimate the power of communication…
You never know where speaking a second language might get you. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2030, 85% of the jobs we will be doing don’t currently exist. The world is getting smaller…and if 7.5 billion people are now our close neighbor, being able to converse with them to understand their needs is a precious skill. It also shows dedication and a serious willing to learn - picking up another language is no easy feat.
Keep this in mind when you’re considering your options, whether that’s which uni to go to (some might offer modules in foreign languages, like international business or foreign literature), which placement to take or what to fill your free time with. Universities are hubs or international talent and idea-sharing…and can even offer you free money (yes, really) to study abroad for a part of your degree course…even if you’re not studying a language there.
You can take evening classes if that’s how you learn best, and there’s flexible online learning (full-time and part-time).
Hey, try downloading a languages app like Duolingo and trying your luck with something crazy and new. You never know where it might take you.
LUCY HARDING is the Editorial manager for Push. She is an English Literature grad and an MA Publishing student at UCL. She is passionate about international relations and cultural diversity, having worked closely with her university’s Erasmus society to support European students. She also spent a year abroad studying at California State University: Long Beach
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