At Language Intelligence, we believe that learning a language is not only a personally rewarding journey, but a professionally astute move. This belief is reinforced each day through the work that we do. When you work at Language Intelligence, it’s impossible not to feel that this is true.
Our summer intern, an International Relations student at SUNY Geneseo, recently wrote about his experiences working at Language Intelligence and how those experiences solidified his beliefs about the importance of language training:
Globalization has brought the world closer than it has ever been. We see it in the movies we watch, the food we eat and the people we see on a daily basis. At no other time in history has it been easier to travel or communicate with people around the world.
As a student in SUNY Geneseo’s International Relations program, I understood this from my very first day of class, and it is an idea that was further reinforced when I spent a year abroad living in the Netherlands and traveling throughout Europe. My recent experiences as an intern at Language Intelligence in Rochester, New York solidified these beliefs even more.
Language Intelligence provides businesses with language solutions covering a wide range of services. While I became familiar with several different departments of the business, most of my time was spent working in the language school. It was here that the value of being able to communicate in a second language really struck me.
Working with the language school, I saw that American businesses were providing opportunities for their employees to learn a second language, especially if they were being sent abroad to work and live. Of course, learning the language of the country where these employees are being sent will make a difference in their quality of life in general, but the major compelling argument for language education from a business perspective is the return on investment; workplace productivity benefits immensely when employees are comfortable in their new environment, everyone can communicate effectively, and there is a level of cultural understanding among employees.
Learning a second language isn’t just important for transplanted American employees, but also for those who move to the United States from other countries. During my internship, I was able to sit in on a culture training session given to Chinese employees of a global company. The program addressed some of the differences between Chinese and American culture and how to approach certain situations with cultural sensitivity. When we think about learning languages, we often focus on the words. The culture training demonstrated that learning a language means more than having a vast vocabulary; it is about being able to communicate in such a way that both parties understand and agree on what is actually being said.
The internship at Language Intelligence opened my eyes to many things, but perhaps the most profound realization was how a second language can create opportunities. Throughout my experience I was in constant contact with people who spoke multiple languages and I was able to see the resulting personal and professional benefits. Most of the employees of Language Intelligence, including the language teachers and interpreters, are multilingual. The career opportunities open to speakers of a second language are wide open; language skills have practical applications at every level of business and can play a vital role in career development.
by Terry Carol