Importance of Language Studies for Career Advancement

We live in a global economy and while technology offers translation services of many kinds, there is ultimately no substitute for a genuine conversation in the local language. That's why mastering a foreign language opens so many career doors. It doesn't even require living in a foreign country. In a global economy, technology puts us in touch with business units from around the world in just seconds.

There are many alternatives for learning a language through service in a foreign country, from teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) in a local school, to working for a foreign subsidiary. It helps enormously to have mastered the basics first, of course, through college courses or through your own efforts with books and CDs.

Increasingly, executives in most industries come to a point in their careers where service in a business unit abroad is almost a requirement for advancement to more senior levels. It gives the executive a first-hand awareness of globalization and of cultures and organizations that are vital for the larger business. Those that already master the language of the foreign location will be more likely to be chosen for the assignment.

These assignments can be long or short-term, but either way they offer a wealth of experience and exceptional career advantages as the experience abroad and mastery of the language become a part of your identity. Working abroad exposes the individual to different ways of thinking and of approaching business situations of all kinds, broadening the person's understanding not o­nly of that particular business, but of how business is done and how decisions are made in other countries. There is no substitute for this kind of first-hand experience and it is best learned with a knowledge of the local language.