The importance of languages and experience abroad

Globalisation has brought cultures together, which also implies the need for communication. For that reason, nowadays speaking languages is vital, not only for our personal lives but also for our professional careers. The earlier you start learning and practising your language skills, the easier it will be for you and the more opportunities you will have in the labour market.

On a work experience abroad such as an internship, students will be exposed to the language in a more technical and specialised environment and will be able to gain confidence in speaking and using their communication skills. Moreover, work experience abroad not only shows your passion for languages, travelling and your disposition to learn, but also it presents you as a mature and motivated person when you go to an interview looking for a job.

With such an experience you will have the opportunity to experience the local way of living and also, you will meet people from all over the world, which means you will get in touch with different cultures and ways of thinking. This will help you to be more open-minded and to grow-up personally.

While you acquire these aptitudes and competences you also become more competitive from the labour market point of view, since extra-curricular activities are becoming more important than ever to help you stand out from the crowd. In addition, this will train you to be a future global leader, who will be more effective in a professional environment, respectful with other political and economic systems and willing to take a more global view, not just those which benefit a specific country.

For students who want to their time abroad to make a great impact on their career potential, results indicate that they should choose an internship as part of their curriculum. You will be able to count on your supervisor’s support and encouragement for help in developing independence, problem-solving skills and self-reliance.

It has been always said that the longer the stay, the greater the benefits and this theory holds true, even though shorter programmes can also be enormously successful in producing academic, career, personal, social and inter-cultural developments. There are some choices that have potential to increase students’ long-term language and career benefits, such as limiting the time they spend with students from their own country, going out and forcing themselves everyday into a situation where they have to speak the foreign language and if it is possible, staying with a host family that does not speak their language at all.

Few other experiences in life have proven to have such a positive and sustainable impact. Therefore, if you have the chance you should immerse yourself in your language of study by studying abroad or looking for an internship or job suitable for you. There are plenty of different ways you can maximize your language skills while you are abroad, but remember, the most important thing is to step out of your comfort zone!

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