The importance of becoming multilingual in a global job market
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The importance of becoming multilingual in a global job market

The importance of becoming multilingual in a global job market

Does knowing more than one language really elevate your career prospects, allowing you to strategically position your talents in a competitive job market?

Citing numerous benefits of being multilingual, the British Academy considers language skills to be essential for thriving in the future of work and enhancing your professional and personal development.

In a shared statement, the British Academy, the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Academy of Engineering all maintain that the “UK’s poor language capacity has resulted in the loss of economic, social, cultural, and research opportunities,” stating that, “The economic cost of the UK’s linguistic underperformance in terms of lost trade and investment has been estimated at 3.5 percent of GDP.”

President of the British Academy, David Cannadine, requests a step-change in the way the nation approaches language learning.

“The UK has the potential to become a linguistic powerhouse. If it did, it would be more prosperous, productive, influential and, literally, healthier. Languages must be the wind in global Britain’s sails,” he says.

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Amid Brexit uncertainty, the four national academies call on the UK Government to adopt and implement a national strategy for languages that will help to upskill aspiring multilingual speakers.

“Languages are vital for effective trade, diplomacy and soft power, all of which will be essential to the UK’s future success. But the benefits of language learning go far beyond simply being able to communicate with our global neighbours. Within the UK too, language learning is good for social cohesion,” Languages Lead at the British Academy, Neil Kenny adds. 

Leveraging language skills doesn’t just heighten learners’ communication and intercultural skills, but also improves their ability to multitask, makes them cognitively more agile, and prepares them for a flexible future career.

In an international job market, the ability to switch between languages is nothing short of golden.

Not only would you have the chance to apply for competitive jobs that require a bilingual or multilingual speaker, but you’ll also gain a diverse perspective upon different cultures and profile yourself as a highly performant, culturally aware candidate.

To succeed in our interconnected, multilingual world, contemporary students really should consider pursuing language at university.

Here are four higher education providers that are teaching students to be multilingual…

SCHOOL OF MODERN LANGUAGES, UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL – UK

Preparing students to become agile participants and leaders in our globalised world, the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol promotes the practice of intercultural communication through student-centred teaching and interactive learning environments.

For undergraduate learners, there’s the option to pursue a range of BA programmes with one, two, or three languages, as well as programmes with one language and another subject, such as International Business Management, History, Law, Politics, and more.

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University of Bristol

Undergraduate programmes at the School of Modern Languages include BA Modern Languages, Czech degrees, French degrees, German degrees, Italian degrees, Portuguese degrees, Russian degrees and Spanish degrees. The Faculty of Arts also offers the multidisciplinary BA Liberal Arts and the MLibArts Liberal Arts with Study Abroad degree.

Postgraduate learners here direct their talents towards the MA Comparative Literatures and Cultures degree, the MA Black Humanities degree, the MA Chinese-English Translation degree or the MA Translation distance-learning programme.

Staff in the School place students at the heart of what they do and teach. You’ll be taught by academic experts who are recognised for cutting-edge research and you’ll have access to a range of state-of-the-art resources, including a dedicated Multimedia Centre and all its IT and AV facilities.

You will be exposed to research-rich teaching that aims to instill transferable skills such as linguistic and intercultural understanding, mental agility, clarity of communication, and adaptability. Your experience at the University of Bristol will empower you to become a creative and confident graduate and will open up diverse and rewarding career avenues.

DEPARTMENT OF NORDIC STUDIES AND LINGUISTICS, UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN – DENMARK

Understanding the demand for multilingual talent in today’s job market, the University of Copenhagen is encouraging learners to invest in a BA or Master’s degree from the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics (NorS).

Within the course catalogue for Spring 2020 are disciplines for both domestic and international exchange students, including French Studies, German Studies, Global Urban Studies, Italian Studies, Japan Studies, Korean Studies, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and Spanish Studies.

Watch out for courses that fully embrace the language; for instance, all courses within Italian Studies are taught in Italian, such as the BA Italian – Elective subject: Language proficiency, while all courses within German Studies are delivered in German.

At NorS also conducts research, dissemination and teaching in the areas of Nordic cultural heritage and modern sociolinguistic and technological approaches to language.

By working with philological disciplines such as manuscript and literature studies, with name research and language change, human language technology and data science, you’ll dig deeper into the foundations of linguistics and communication methods.

Influencing multilingual and bilingual students to look beyond the text and terminology, the department expands cultural awareness and supports the development of unique language skills.

LANGUAGE CENTER OF UZH AND ETH ZURICH, UNIVERSITY OF ZURICH – SWITZERLAND

As an international student hub, the University of Zurich has joined academic forces with ETH Zurich to establish the Language Center.

Courses for UZH Bachelor’s and Master’s students include the study of Ancient Greek, Latin, French, Brazilian – Portuguese, Italian and Swedish.

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University of Zurich

Contributing to the internationalisation and mobility of individual course participants’ education, research and professional lives, the language skills acquired through these programmes include core intercultural communication skills and insight into industries that value multilingualism.

All language courses at the university’s language institution are based on the current findings in language acquisition research. Therefore, faculty encourage the development of metacognitive skills and promotes a lifelong pursuit of language learning and practice.

Meeting annual quality standards and following strict principles, your course will never lack relevant details or trends.

In fact, lecturers have their own courses evaluated at the end of each semester, and there are regular checks on the validity of courses by having them evaluated by course participants and clients.

Rest assured, your journey towards a bilingual or multilingual future is in safe hands at the University of Zurich.

THE LANGUAGE ACADEMY, UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM – THE NETHERLANDS

At the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Language Academy operates online through result-oriented lessons and advantageous language courses.

Developed by the UvA Talen group in 2018, which is the independent language centre of the University of Amsterdam, here, you can stretch your Dutch, English, Spanish, German and French skills to their full potential.

Making courses easy and fun, each language programme contains 10 lessons with grammar workshops and exercises. You’ll get to practice your speaking, listening and writing skills with instructional videos and fun tasks – plus, you can cater these lessons to fit your university schedule.

What’s different about this type of language learning is that you will look in on the lives of four young professionals who live in Amsterdam. You encounter these young professionals in all sorts of everyday situations and learn sentences and expressions you can put into practice right away.

Language levels vary, and it’s up to you to decide which level you’d prefer.

But with its online course that motivates you and increases your multilingual abilities, this could be the perfect place to boost your employability while studying.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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