The Advantages of Being Multilingual — Our Members’ Perspective
For many of our members, learning a new language is not just a fun pastime but a necessity. It makes living abroad much easier and opens up a new world of understanding and opportunities. We asked them how being bilingual or multilingual has improved their life abroad. These are their answers!
Especially if you’re a self-made expat who moved abroad to embark on a new adventure or if you are in it for the long haul, you will inevitably be on the job search at some point. According to our members, speaking two or more languages can open up many new opportunities in your career.
“It helped me to create new customers in my business and in my competition of market of my products and goods".
“I get exposed to different opportunities, especially in terms of jobs.”
“Being a minority in France (black guy), speaking English has given me more options in life in terms of career opportunities, even if it’s still limited. Before moving to England, I struggled to find a job but when I came back it was another story, I was being "hunted". The language wasn't the only reason but it was a basis. More doors were open to me and more possibilities presented themselves. Also, having another language opens up the mind and makes you see things differently.”
“It gave me not only a huge opportunity of communication but also a lot of great job opportunities.”
It Makes You Flexible, It Opens Your Mind
Aside from the more practical advantages that your language skills can provide, they also allow you to be more flexible. They give you the freedom to move around the world more easily and settle down more naturally in many different places. But they also help you become more open-minded.
“It's made me more flexible in my approach towards almost every aspect of life. Most importantly, it has made me respect, appreciate, and participate in the diversity of the world that surrounds us.”
“It's freedom! It definitely improves your traveling experiences, your professional career opportunities, your networking, etc.”
“It enables you to take on a different identity, live in a different reality. All in all, it provides freedom to be a different person.”
Connect with (Local) People
Of course, we can’t forget about the best part of being bilingual or multilingual: it gets you out of your expat bubble. According to our members, meeting people, making new friends, and connect with locals, is becoming much easier, the more languages you speak.
“It has improved my interpersonal relations in my personal and professional life. A great way to connect, break the ice, bond.”
“Being multilingual gave me the opportunity to connect with many people who don't understand our language.”
“It helps me communicate effectively with different people from different backgrounds.”
“Being multilingual has made my life easier across provinces in our country. Easy to get help or find friends if you can speak their language. It makes communication very easy and other parties may not be comfortable with English.
Being multilingual has improved my social relations and interactions.”
A Gateway to Different Cultures around the World
Beyond, the career opportunities, the freedom, and the new friends, being bilingual or multilingual opens up new perspectives. It is an open door to different cultures that has previously been closed. People who are bilingual or multilingual can have a better understanding of the environment and mentality of the country they live in.
“It opens so many doors, gives you a peek to new cultures, inside jokes, communities, etc.”
“There are concepts and behaviours unique to one culture that's not always easy to translate into another language, like the Farsi word for "taarof" or even the English word for feeling "guilty" over someone else's generosity.”
“It changed my life, the way I enjoy living, the way I see the world, the reality. It also helped me to understand that we can't judge other people only based on their actions. We have to understand that their motivations are based on the culture and it takes time to know that.”
I would resume it in two worlds. Empathy and Growth.
“Speaking a second language is a gateway to the culture of the country you are living in and thus opens up your mind to different ideas and philosophies. Your outlook on life changes. One strange thing is that I find myself being able to express myself in my second language rather than my mother tongue ..... go figure ...”
“Being multilingual has helped me a lot as I have been able to learn more about diverse cultures and ideas. I am someone who loves to explore new ideas and cultures, mixing up with multinationals has made me appreciate the uniqueness of every culture I have come across.”
“Languages helped me to better understand different mentalities and cultures and to feel everywhere like home. It's exciting to discuss with locals in their language, to share their dreams and fears. It also helped me to consider myself as a citizen of the world.”
“It changed everything, my vision of life, my vision of the world, of myself, it allowed me to have some friends from all around the world, and to be able to survive wherever I go on my own, making myself understood to both local and foreign people.”