Working abroad to learn a new language

Published on March 18th, 2016

Many people have felt the same way that I did when I finished university: “Now what do I do? Where do I start?” Personally, I always wanted to work in marketing: not only is it vital for businesses but it is also a very creative industry with great opportunities for progression. I first considered all the options and possibilities that I had in my own country. I knew that it would be important to learn English in order to build a career in this field, so I came to the decision that perhaps this was the perfect moment for me to do what I always wanted. I threw myself into this new adventure and came to the UK to forge my career in marketing. On top of that, I thought it would be great to add international experience to my CV.

At first, I found everything very intimidating, even scary. It was my first experience working abroad and I didn’t know how it would go; I didn’t know how to build an attractive CV or to what managers and recruiters gave the most importance. It was equally very exciting though, and soon I started to see the benefits of learning a different language for my career. As I could not speak English very well yet, I thought it would be helpful to try to get a job where I had to interact with people all the time, so that I would get used to the different accents and develop my communication skills. Little by little, I became more confident—especially when I could see the progress I was making—taking on more and more challenging tasks until I eventually earned a promotion in my job.

Learning a language for a career is not just about grammar and vocabulary. Having worked in the UK for a while now, I have realised that by being here, I can better understand the culture, different people’s habits and the day-to-day experiences that together make up the working environment. More than this, it has also allowed me to discover more about myself! The possibility of adapting to a new work environment made me become more flexible, tolerant and open-minded towards other people or situations. Angela Leung, Associate Professor of Psychology at Singapore Management University, says that “exposure to multiple cultures in and of itself can enhance creativity”. During my time here, I have learnt to face unfamiliar situations and solve the different challenges that I come across: for instance, by creating different solutions to speed up our teams’ workflows so that we can work more efficiently.

In addition to communication skills, it enhances social skills, one of the most highly valued skills in any job, affecting the way you interact with colleagues, clients and the ability to work with people from very different backgrounds. These are qualities that will help you to stand out when looking for a job.

When people ask me about my living and working experience abroad, I always say the same: do it and get everything you can out of it! It will help you to gain different work skills and demonstrate to future employers your ability to adapt, your originality and your ambition to succeed.

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Posted on: March 18th, 2016