Planning to learn a Foreign Language? | Make sure you know these...

Planning to learn a Foreign Language? | Make sure you know these 5 things first!

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” A different language is a different vision of life.” – Federico Fellini, Italian film director. 

In a world where nations are interdependent to supply goods and services, ensure international security, solve political disputes for a peaceful and progressive existence, understanding other cultures is paramount. Learning another language opens up new possibilities and can give opportunities one’s never encountered before. In addition to personal, social and economic and professional advantages, the knowledge of different languages can also result in cognitive growth.

1. Why learn a foreign language?
Talking in terms of professionalism, we’ve not noticed that in the last few decades, the companies of India have emerged on the global front. This had led to the acknowledgement of the colossal marketing potential in India further turning into a platform for the MNCs thereby enhancing the number of employment opportunities for the youngsters of India.

Now this is where the knowledge of different languages comes into the picture. When we talk about global competition, it becomes highly essential that the barriers on this front are brought down to facilitate effective communication. This can not only enable bona fide transactions but can help in gaining an insight into the work ethic of other countries.

Now-a-days be it the corporate world or the embassies, there is a great demand for people who have acquired expertise on a foreign language. This provides a diverse scope of careers which are based on foreign languages. Furthermore, did you know that knowing a foreign language can improve your scores in LSATs, SATs, GREs etc? Research has shown that the knowledge of a foreign language improves analytic and interpretative capacities. Additionally, it sharpens your mind, boosts creativity, expands the knowledge base and it draws attention to the language mechanics- sentence construction, grammar and conjugations.

According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, 18 percent of American employers prefer to hire candidates who can speak a language other than English. If you plan on pursuing international internship, it can be of great help not only professionally, but also makes it easy to interact with the native people.

According to Chris Thomas, Manager, GE Commercial Leadership Program, says that job applicants who speak more than one language “are attractive and more marketable. There’s a growing need to understand and relate to customers and partners in a language that they are comfortable speaking.”

Yes, and now the most awaited question-

2. How can I learn a foreign language?

1. Begin when you’re in school:- There are many schools which offer foreign languages as part of their academic curriculum. To develop a better base and understanding, it is advisable to learn these languages when you’re in school.

However, if you haven’t, it’s never too late to start. You can opt for any of the below mentioned options.

2. Short term certificate courses:- There are a number of private companies such as Bajaj, Max Muller etc which offer certificate courses in foreign language. Duration depends on the language you’ve opted for.

3. Diploma and Graduation Courses:- Some students opt for full time courses right after school. Jamia Millia Islamia,Jawaharlal Nehru University, University of Delhi etc offer courses in Arabic, French, Japanese, Persian, Spanish, German, Mandarin China, Italian and more. Some of you who are interested in pursuing higher studies can opt for a PhD in the courses offered by the select universities in India.

3. How much will it cost?
If you’re opting to take up the short term certificate courses provided by the private companies, it can turn out to be a bit expensive. Fee also varies from language to language for example, the fee for Japanese and Mandarin Chinese is the highest. 

However, the government universities charge a minimal fee. In addition to this, there are various scholarships which they provide for outstanding students.

4. What are the job prospects?
Domestic as well as international markets offer an abundant number of jobs in various fields ranging from the tourism, public relations, mass communication, interpretation, technical translations, embassies, translation, interpretations and decoding. This fosters income according to the work an individual does and it differs from organization to organisation.

Moreover the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India also renders several jobs which are based on foreign language communication. 

5. What language should I pick?
Learning a foreign language from scratch requires a lot of commitment in terms of time, which is a key factor while picking up the language you want to learn. While French and Spanish is something most people go for, it demands at least 600 hours of classroom sessions to master. On the other hand, Mandarin and Japanese take a whopping 2200 hours, to learn properly.

So, why remain monolingual to stunt your development academically, to restrict your thinking and communication abilities and deny yourself the wonderful opportunity to understand the world which consists of manifold cultures? The knowledge of another language will not only magnify your personality but it will serve you as a link between different communities of the world. So, go ahead, pick your language today!

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