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Languages Skills That Could Change Your Life

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Thanks to the global connectivity provided by the Internet, it really is a small world, after all. There was a time when getting a job after college meant working in the town you grew up in, or moving to a big city. Today, that big city might be Tokyo, Dubai, Beijing or Mumbai. It might even be somewhere in North America, but as the world grows increasingly diverse, having another language (or two) up your sleeve will help you go very far. Here are the five best languages to learn in college.

1. Chinese/Mandarin

The economic doomsday prophets predict that China will take over the world. Whether or not that’s true, being able to speak Mandarin – the first language of more than one billion people, and easily the most spoken language in the world – gives you a decided advantage over thousands of other job applicants. Study abroad trips to China are very common, and knowing how to survive in a very foreign land comes down to how well you can speak their language.

2. Spanish

Spanish has almost 330 million natural speakers across the globe (and half a billion people speak it overall), and is a very common ‘standard’ language in countries that are home to a large range of nationalities. With scores of children and families moving from Latin and South America to the United States, being able to communicate in their native tongue is a great little factoid to put on a resume.

3. Japanese

Knowing how to speak Japanese will go much further than having fun at comic book conventions and not being lost when you go out for sushi. Japan is one of the strongest cultural and economic centers of the world, and being able to get the hang of Japanese is not an easy feat, but a very rewarding one – whether you go there on holiday, or to start your career.

4. Arabic

Fifteen years ago, speaking Arabic might have been merely considered “not a bad idea”. Today, however, with Dubai emerging from the shadow of bankruptcy, and the region a key focus for geopolitical machinations, knowing Arabic will come in handy in a lot of ways. Dubai has made itself into a nexus for many Western companies looking to secure a foothold in Asia, the ability to speak the local tongue will give you a front row seat to the best of both worlds.

5. Korean

Much like Japanese, the ability to speak Korean goes far beyond simply connecting with the geek subculture and learning how to sing along to PSY songs. South Korea has become a hotspot of business, finance and current events. The number of Korean students coming to the United States to study makes learning their language a no-brainer.

A World Opened by Language

Language skills are becoming increasingly important as the world becomes continually connected – so many basic services are being digitized and potentially sent all over the world. For example, medical transcription is now being dictated to phones and beamed thousands of miles around the world. Coupled with language, this growing industry could change the world in the most positive ways. Though many companies are American, some are offshored to control costs. This makes English an extremely valuable skills in those places. Additionally, many of the doctors sending in dictations many be working with patients who do not speak English. Having a wide array of language skills would be a huge value add for those doctors and patients and likely propel the dictation company into the future.

Categories: Education
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