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Talk the talk: Maximise Your Prospects Using Languages

The Guardian     September 23, 2013

The idea of going overseas to study can be daunting, with visions of baffling languages or nights spent in isolation while you are gradually forgotten by your friends and family. However, the benefits of studying abroad - such as broadening your mind, improving your career prospects and making friends from all over the world - can make digging out your passport really rewarding.

The Academy has repeatedly stressed that language scholarship is a long-term investment - for the individual, for research, for competitiveness and for society at large - providing a wealth of culture and skills beyond textbook knowledge. Every language learnt opens doors to a world of exciting opportunities, allow you to tap into networks, and enrich your education. And each one you tackle will make learning the next easier.

Talk the Talk is a guide for students and teachers, and includes personal endorsements of learning languages from leading figures such as Arsène Wenger, Ellen MacArthur, Baroness Jean Coussins, Zeinab Badawi and Richard Hardie. The case studies demonstrate the plethora of practical, personal and employable skills that can be acquired through in the process of learning foreign languages.

A recent CBI survey found that 72% of UK firms say foreign languages benefit their business, and around 1 in 10 are concerned about missing out on opportunities due to language skills shortages. Despite being a global language only about 6% of the world's population are native English speakers and an estimated 75% do not speak English at all. European languages still continue to be the most 'useful' for employers but those geared towards working in China, Turkey, the Middle East and other emerging economies are likely to grow in demand over this century, making language skills increasingly valuable to individuals, businesses, and society.

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