A young professional’s hot take on language learning
Language learning is more accessible than ever, thanks to technology. That’s true when someone is learning for personal or business use, or both.
As a young professional, I’m interested in understanding my generation’s perspective on language learning. My approach is to dip into my network to talk to post-grads with about two years of work experience.
For this blog post, I talked with a college friend. Sabrina joined a consulting company almost 18 months ago. Like other millennials with many projects on their plate, Sabrina dreams of having it all.
Language learning boosts global careers
Sabrina is already fluent in English and is learning Indonesian. Her company encourages employees to develop their business skills, from certifications to language learning.
“Learning a new language is a key skill to pick up if you want to be put on an international project,” says Sabrina. The consulting company where she works has offices in 51 countries and 505,000 employees. Still, Sabrina has hesitated about picking up an international project and using her Indonesian skills.
“I feel like you have to be real confident in your language skills when you use them for a client, as opposed to using them personally to communicate with friends or family,” Sabrina said. Building confidence takes time, study, and practice. Sabrina looks forward to using her language skills to help clients and businesses in the future.
You can fit learning into a busy schedule
Sabrina’s fortunate her company offers digital language learning options. Still, I wondered when she finds time to pick up a lesson. “The optimal time for people in my company to focus on language learning is when we’re on “the bench” in between client projects,” Sabrina said. That’s when consultants can develop skills while waiting for their next project assignment.
I asked what hours and days Sabrina prefers to learn, given her busy schedule. It turns out she is more inclined to take lessons Monday through Friday during the work day. “It feels cool to learn,” says Sabrina, “especially during my productive hours because of how our brains are wired to learn during those exact times in high school and a majority of the time in college, too. I’ve become accustomed to it.”
Learning a new language is a key skill to pick up if you want to be put on an international project.
Times you choose to learn can affect your language progress. So does the platform you learn on. Today’s employees can choose a desktop or mobile experience, and even sync their lessons on both. I asked Sabrina which method she prefers. “Definitely on my phone! It’s also a great way to be productive on the phone instead of using social media,” adding that it was also a great way to learn on the go.
I’d like to learn more about how people outside of Rosetta Stone feel about digital language learning. While it’s still early in our careers, any skill we buff up on will yield future benefits. It’s also easy to see how picking up a language is a great way to flex on the resume and in your social circles.
Thanks to Sabrina for making time to talk with me. I look forward to supporting her language learning efforts, just as we have supported each other, through other classes, in the past.15