The Importance of Modern Languages in a Modern World
Being bilingual – or even trilingual – is becoming more necessary for professional success. The continual globalization of the world’s economy – including the increase in remote working environments and internet expansion – is bringing a diversity of cultures into more frequent contact with each other and has collapsed the barrier of distance that once kept peoples apart. From the corporate marketplace to the individual consumer, from pre-schools to universities, from medical practices to counseling services, the world community has become integrated and interdependent.
9 out of 10 Employers are Seeking Bilingual Applicants
According to the Committee for Economic Development, employers are seeking applicants who can speak more than one language. Research shows that 9 out of 10 employers are seeking applicants who can navigate a modern global economy, while 1 in 3 employers report a language skills gap in employees. The good news for students: learning another language can develop skills that include greater academic achievement, increased cognitive development, and problem-solving abilities.
Dr. Melissa Fiori, Associate Professor of Spanish Applied Linguistics at Daemen University, says, “Becoming bilingual or trilingual not only increases skills, but it creates cultural sensitivity and awareness. It teaches better listening skills and increases our ability to communicate more effectively with each other.”
More employers are looking for employees who don’t have to rely on translation tools to communicate with their global counterparts, she adds. “Whatever students’ goals are education-wise, be it nursing, becoming a doctor, social work etc., there’s a need for bilingual professionals. For example, French is considered the international language of medicine. And, by 2060, the United States will be the most Spanish speaking country in the world outside of Spanish countries.”
Take Advantage of Scholarship Programs
Recognizing the importance of bilingualism, the U.S. Department of State offers the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, helping students study or pursue an internship abroad. Fiori says, “One of Daemen’s own was awarded the scholarship last year. There are so many opportunities to become immersed in another culture and it’s a great way to learn the language.”
For students who are interested, Daemen University’s Global Program Office can offer support.
However, the growing demand for bilingual talent in major industries isn’t just limited to students. Fiori says that even adults should take advantage of the many opportunities to learn another language. “Anyone can learn a second or third language. While it’s true that the plasticity and capability of the brain makes it easier in childhood, really anyone can learn,” said Fiori. “It’s just a matter of putting in the work. My own mother studied German and Spanish in her 40’s, and has retained most of that knowledge today.”
Daemen’s Modern Languages Department
According to Fiori, Daemen offers a wide range of support to students interested in learning a second language. The dual majors programs allows students to obtain a degree in either Spanish or French, as well as a Bachelor’s or Masters in areas such as business administration or public health. “Our Modern Languages department also has an integrated Language Assistance program where students work with native and heritage speakers who are members of the Daemen community as a means to build communicative fluency,” Fiori said.
Simply put, language learning is becoming increasingly necessary to effectively function in a modern global marketplace.
Learn more at daemen.edu
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