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Learn a Foreign Language

Foreign LanguageIn today's global economy we're likely to interact with others who speak a foreign language. Those executives who are multi-lingual have a real leg up on others.  There are some leadership programs designed for executives that may include this as part of their curriculum.  I encourage you to decide which foreign language you'd like to explore.  Once you learn it, consider spending some of your vacation time doing an "intensive" by living with a family to really learn.  If your organization offers opportunities for a sabbatical, this is an ideal way to broaden your skills.

The American Council on Foreign Language has an a broad range of offerings to help to determine where to learn and understand the standards required for becoming proficient in a language.  There are many reasons to learn a foreign language, but the Top 10 according to the Rosetta Stone langue system are:

  1. Expand your horizons: You will get a richer experience when traveling to foreign countries if you know at least the basics of their language.
  2. Open doors professionally: From a business perspective, when you are able to communicate in a foreign language, it gives you an edge.
  3. Sharpen your mind: Research has shown that learning a new language stimulates the language center of your brain. This results in the added benefit of improving your native tongue.
  4. Make the grade: Because discipline is required to learn a new language, it can carry over to improving grades in other subjects.
  5. Immerse yourself in arts and culture: Many nuances are "lost in translation," to truly appreciate the cultural references and metaphors contained within certain masterpieces, learn the language associated with them.
  6. Grab the global market: Sell your product, your service, even yourself. Globally.
  7. Explore at home: Enjoy and gain a better appreciation for the cultural pockets that are present in the U.S., such as Chinatowns and Latin communities, especially on holidays like Cinco de Mayo.
  8. Gain more perspective: How do other cultures perceive world events? Read a foreign newspaper or watch a newscast in a different language.
  9. Lend a helping hand: Ever wanted to do more than just donate money? Join the peace corps, go on a mission, or simply go abroad to help.
  10. Improve yourself for a lifetime: Many of the ways we improve ourselves are temporary, but an investment in language learning lasts forever.